Monday, November 30, 2009

Not Your Typical Thanksgiving Tradition

Each year on the day after our Thanksgiving feast, our family suits up in battle fatigues, and heads into the woods to run and hide and shoot at each other.
Paintball!!
It has become a family tradition..and one we look forward to each year.
Saturday's weather was perfect for the games.
We spent the afternoon hunting each other down and shooting each other....sounds rather brutal, but is all in good fun. We make up all sorts of games...capture the flag, defending the "fort", last man standing, manhunt, and more. The rest of the day is spent nursing our bruises, laughing and teasing each other about the great "hits" we got on each other.

this is what exhaustion looks like.....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us at Bee Haven Acres
To all of you who follow our lives on the farm,
We would like to express our warmest wishes for a
Very Happy Thanksgiving!
We will be spending the next few days making memories
with our two legged "kids" who are home for the holiday.
They are our biggest blessing.

On this day of thanks, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to have the love of family, friends, children and pets. For all of this we are truly grateful.

We are grateful to all of our friends who stop by to visit us here each day and share their thoughts with us...you help to make our lives rich and full. May your hearts be full of love and your bellies full of turkey on this special day. We will be back next week with more "tails from the farm."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Bear Season

This week marked the beginning of black bear hunting season. No, the bears are not hunting. I tried to explain this to Becky's horses, but they were not convinced. They were sure that they had seen a bear....and if this is the first day of bear season, they were also sure that this bear was hunting! All eyes were riveted to that large black, lumbering form in the goat pen. "Hey goats.....BEWARE......DANGER!!!!!!" they snorted.Chip showed no concern and kept eating his dinner. "Well," he said, "That's a mighty funny looking bear with that long tale!"
Even the chickens weren't alarmed. After all, they had all seen this four legged, black, drooling creature before...and it had never caused them any harm.
This is Maddie, my Newfie and my friend. She loves to help with chores, but most days napping takes precedence. This day, however, being the first day of bear season, she decided to see what all the fuss was about. I kept her by my side all day....no roaming in the woods during hunting season. Our woods are all posted, but you just never know....and we don't take chances with our Maddie!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Grass is Greener

I have often heard it said that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. So, I posed this question to the Littles........And Red said, "Definitely, the grass IS greener on the other side!"
Every day at some point I catch my little men with their heads poked between the bottom two fence boards....happily munching away at whatever is growing on the other side of the fence.
In all honesty, though, our front pasture is beginning to look a bit sad and wintry. At this rate, I will soon need to through flakes of hay into the pasture to keep everyone busy during the day, and to salvage what plants are left in that pasture. Even with the lack of nutrition in that pasture, Red and Ollie still manage to wear round bellies!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Sad Tale

It is a good thing that the happy tales way outnumber the sad tales....or this farm life would be unbearable. As a result of too many unhappy guinea tales, I have come to a critical decision.....no more guineas. This past weekend was just too sad. The truth is this: guineas are untrainable. I don't care that the only "expert" on the subject claims that they can be trained with white millet. I beg to differ. After weeks of giving my guineas a white millet treat at bedtime, this past Saturday night the flock never came home to roost. We had really thought that we had been successful, because up until Saturday, most of them returned to their house nightly.

For some reason, though, they decided to stay out Saturday night; and Sunday morning we were met with this scene.....8 times over........
Sadly, Hubbs found two of the birds paralyzed and barely alive. Euthanizing them was the only thing he could do....a really difficult task, for which I am truly grateful. A cloud of sadness followed us the rest of the day. Only one of my original light colored guineas remains and only a handful of the pearl guineas that I have been raising since July.
Last night, only 5 guineas were present in the house at bedtime.

I have come to the conclusion that there are just too many predators for these not-so-intelligent, comical birds to be able to free range on our farm. Unfortunately, keeping them locked up all of the time hardly seems right, either. I guess only the strong survive...at least for a little while.

So, sadly, no more guineas for Bee Haven Acres....the heartache is too great.

PS....thanks for listening to my sad tale....I am so sorry that I could not write a happy one today. But, as I have always said...."There's always tomorrow!"






Friday, November 20, 2009

Rubber Rosie

Meet Rosie....she is the youngest of Becky's three dogs....and definitely the most energetic. She is a young golden retriever... who, if we could bottle her enthusiasm, could put Prozac off the market! This morning's tale is about Rosie: The next three pictures are typical for Rosie...as she never holds still long enough to get a clear picture.....
I was heading up to Becky's barn this morning to help with her chores (she is out of commission for a few days). Anyways, I was driving the gator past her house (her land is adjacent to the back side of our farm) and not paying attention to the road (after all, there are never any cars around here), but instead was admiring all the hard work that she puts into her landscaping. All of a sudden an orange flash and a loud "bang" came from the front of the gator.
My head spun around to see Rosie rolling across the road in front of my gator. "Bang" again, I hit her a second time (not having enough time to hit the brakes). Screams of horror were coming from my mouth. I hopped out of the gator to check the dog...and off she ran....apparently unscathed. Now, at this point I have had a heart attack and a stroke all at once and the tears well up in my eyes. Meanwhile Becky is calling..."don't worry, she's fine.....maybe that will teach her a lesson". Well, lessons are good, but not at my hand (and certainly not while I am behind the wheel). A little while after the "accident", Rosie finally sat still enough for me to snap this picture. She is smiling just to say that she really is ok....but perhaps will think twice before running into the road again!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mojo's MOJO

Happily I can report that MoJo and O'Malley were seen "dating" this week. Their courtship consisted of a few games of tag, after which O'Malley teasingly called "You're it!" and MoJo willingly obliged.
The act was observed to be a bit awkward, but I am sure they will make several attempts.....so, let's hope one of them is successful. Time will tell....we will ultrasound Sissy and O'Malley in several weeks. Both O'Malley and MoJo have a good amount of angora fur, so it will be interesting to see what their offspring look like.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What To Do About Rod!

Well, the routine with Rod Stewart has been the same each day. Every morning, as the sun rises....
I open the door to the fancy chickens' coop so that they can spend the day in their yard. As the door opens, they all rush out, with the exception of Rod Stewart (who is waiting to exit out the back of the coop). Rod spends his days running around the barn taunting Hank (who, if they were together would be beating up on Rod). (Mental picture: Rod Stewart with the personality of PeeWee Herman being beat up by George Clooney with the voice of Hank Williams and the physicality of Jean-Claude Van Damme....not a pretty picture, is it?) Hank, on the other hand, spends his day keeping his hens in line and trying his best to procreate as often as possible. This, of course, makes Rod all the more frustrated (you must understand that roosters have one and only one thing on their mind....and Rod has no hens to himself, now).
At the end of the day, when all of the chickens are roosting, we snatch Rod from his perch on the horse water trough and place him back in the house with the rest of the fancies. Our fear is that if he is left outside he may become prey to an owl during the night. However, once placed inside the house, Hank immediately pounces on Rod and the beatings commence. Rod usually flies up to a higher roost and safety for the night.

Yesterday morning, however, when I opened up the henhouse, I could see no Rod in his usual roosting place (on top of the nesting boxes). I looked and I looked.....no Rod. Then I looked up...way up to the ceiling of the henhouse, where the heat lamp is hung.
There was Rod, safely roosting as far away from Hank as he could get.
(Ok, if this isn't the cutest picture ever!)

After all the hens had exited the henhouse, Rod flew back down to the ground, only to have Hank pounce on him once again. So, I quickly opened the back door, and Rod scooted out to safety.

My problem is this: I now have more roosters than I have henhouses. And although Murray McMurry claims that 25 hens can handle 2 roosters......they obviously didn't clear it with the roosters first!! I think I will make one of my extra stalls in the barn Rod's new nighttime home. We'll see how that goes......I'll let you know.

PS....Yes, I carry my camera in my pocket at all times!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back to Farm Life

It didn't take long to get back into the groove of farm life and farm work. It felt so good to get up early and hit the ground running as usual. The sunrise was spectacular....red and glowing....a prelude to a seasonably warm and sunny day.
For the past several months I have noticed a stray cat running from the barn at different times of the day when I would approach. We have nicknamed this kitty "Boots" because of his/her
white legs. Apparently, when we are not around the barn, Boots visits the other cats and helps himself to their dry cat food. Yesterday morning he became a bit more brazen and stopped near the barn to lie in the warm sun for a while.
He is quite a lovely cat....and I am hoping that someday he will come to trust us enough to let us get close to him.

Yesterday was a big day for our flock of guineas. They finally ventured away from the goat pens. Actually, they left the farm altogether....Becky spotted them way down the road (in the middle of the road, of course). That is, all but two of them.....because the two remaining guineas had gotten themselves trapped in the chicken yard.
I watched as they ran around the chicken yard, sounding their cries of alarm, until finally one figured out how to fly out of the wire mesh on the roof.
Eventually, the second one joined him. It's so hard for a couple of guineas to function alone....when most of their shared "half a brain" is a mile down the road.
Happily, I can report that all guineas returned to their own yard by supper time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Off The Farm

For the first time in months, we took a weekend away from the farm and visited our sons in Charlotte, N.C. It was a wonderful weekend of sleeping in (something we never get to do) and eating out (also a rare treat). We spent the weekend catching up with great conversation and lots of laughter.
I wanted you to meet the newest member of our family....Sam. Sam is their new dog. He is a 14 week old Lab/Golden mix (they think) from the pound. He is doing great with the house training and already knows to sit on command. What a smart boy!!
We tried to sneak Sam into our suitcase to bring him home, but the boys wouldn't let us have him. We can't wait for Thanksgiving, when they all come to the farm for a visit....with Sam, too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guinea Update

This past summer's guinea keats are all now full grown and spending their days doing that guinea "thing".
At this point, I can honestly say that their "training" has paid off. For the past week, now, they have routinely returned to their house to roost at sunset.

You might remember that we tried training them to return home for a tasty treat of white
millet each evening when the light turned on in their house. At first they were afraid of the millet (something new to them always elicits a fear response), but after about 10 days (this seems like the magic number for guineas) they were obviously delighted at the sight of the treat.

So, now each day the routine is to open their house first thing in the morning.
They eventually all work their way out and about for a day of bug hunting in and around the goat pens. They still have not become terribly adventurous and spend their days no further than 20 yards from their house. The good news is, though, that each evening they make their way back into their house to roost. This affords them the necessary protection from predators at night.
So, I am happy to say that, for now at least, the guineas were trainable. Months and months of training have paid off. But then again, tomorrow IS another day. And for 20 birds with only half a brain amongst them, the future is always tenuous.

For those of you who think you might like to train your guineas....have patience....and don't rest on your laurels.....you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MoJo Found His MOJO!

Happily, I can report that our little MoJo has bred with Sissy. Was it successful?....only time will tell. I thought at first that our stealthy little fellow viewed mating as a "covert op", but today he was caught in the act several times. Sissy is "in season" so she is a very willing partner. They spent the better part of the day in courting rituals, chasing each other around....going "steady" as we used to call it.



Oh, how I hate to break it to Sissy, that as soon as O'Malley is "in",
Sissy will be yesterday's news.
For now, I won't burst her bubble!

Do you remember little Kramer from last Spring's kids?
Here is a picture of him then......
and now.....Becky had the opportunity to snap a picture of him this week as she was at his new home doing a veterinary visit. Wow, has he grown up!!

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