Monday, February 28, 2011

Oakley Le Pew

Here is the picture of innocence...
exhaustion, enervation, fatigue, ....
sleeping there....neat and clean in their own beds.
What could be sweeter than two boys, peacefully slumbering?


Ah, if only what led up to this picture was half as peaceful!

Well, let us take a step backward a few hours before this picture.....
back to evening "close up" time, 
when all the farm animals are snuggly tucked in for the night.

I was down at the barn giving the horses their nightly feeding of hay,
when my nose was accosted by a putrid, acrid, horrifying odor.
I immediately searched for Sam, who I knew had accompanied me to the barn.
Sam was by my side in an instant.... no odor following him.

We hastily returned home....with gator at top speed, trying to outrun the stench.

Oakley, who I was unaware was even outside, greeted us at the door to the house.
Immediately, I understood from where the unGodly odor emanated....



Oakley!  it seems had met his match.....
a stand off with Pepe Le Pew....and Oakley had lost!


Those of you who live with dogs in the country,
or even suburbia, live in fear of this moment....
the moment of realization that your dear beloved pet has
been on the receiving end of the foulest scent known to mankind.


Step 1:  Realization : cussing, sighing, crying, denial.
Step 2: Dismay and Disgust:  "Oakley, how could you???"
"Why me?"
Step 3: Avoidance:  packing one's bags and leaving home...always an option.
Step 4:  Acceptance:  Ok, now what are all those home remedies
I've read about through the years???
Step 5:  Work,work,work...pouring everything in one's pantry
and medicine chest onto said dog in an attempt to remove
what you fear may be un-removable!

Remedies

  • Tomato juice .... doesn't really work...and besides, who has enough tomato juice to fill up a tub?
  • Massengil douche.....ok, really? Does anyone have this around?  Does anyone even use this stuff anymore?  What does this imply about feminine hygiene if it even works on skunk odor?
  • Peroxide (one quart), baking soda (1/4 cup), detergent (1 tbsp)....ok, this makes you feel as if you are really doing something about the situation.  Does it work?  Reportedly, yes.  I am not sure.
We tried the last concoction...twice....interspersed with baby shampoo bathings.  
Still...Oakley smelled a little like he had risen from the underworld.

Lastly, from somewhere in my memory bank, 
I remembered a product that I thought might work:


This was perhaps the best remedy yet.
It is a product that we keep on hand for poison ivy exposure.
It was designed and used in the nuclear industry
for the decontamination of skin from nuclear fallout.


We poured it into our hands and began rubbing it into Oakley's coat....
letting it sit for a few moments and then bathing it off.
Low and behold, the stench began to dissipate.
Our old Oakely was starting to emerge from the putrid fog
that had enveloped him.
A few dabs of Listerine to the areas that had faint traces
of skunk smell, and our sweet boy was restored.


I can't emphasize enough how good this product is.
If you have pets,
or if you live in the country,
your medicine chest should always be equipped with
Tecnu!!
I can attest to the fact that it does a great job in removing 
the oils of poison ivy.  And I really think it did the most good
in dealing with the skunk spray.
(There are other products on the market specifically made to remove 
the odor of skunk spray....but we had none of these in the house.)

It would not be fair if I didn't give just a little space in this blog
to the lowly skunk...harmless with the exception of his one
defense that strikes terror in the hearts of all who encounter him.
The skunk sprays a harsh chemical from his anal glands that has
components known as "thiols" in it.  These thiols are the cause
of skunk spray's harsh, acrid odor.  Besides the obvious odor,
these chemicals also cause burning of the eyes and nostrils.
There is only one animal considered to be a predator of the skunk...
and that is the Great Horned Owl,
with his poor to non-existent sense of smell.
(Lucky owl!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Turn Around.....



I sat and watched our bucks eat their supper yesterday
remarking how quickly they have grown.
Newborn Fred
Newborn Skip
Newborn Smoochie
I can remember each of their births....as if it were last week.
And now, look at them....grown up and fathers, themselves.

Surely, you must remember this song....


Where are you going, my little one, little one,

Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two, 
Turn around and you're four,
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around, 
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.

Looking back on baby pictures...even of the goats,
I admit, makes me a wee bit nostalgic.

Today....I woke up thinking...
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was a child?
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was in college?
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was a young mother?
Wasn't it just yesterday that my precious little ones were children?
And wasn't it yesterday that they were in college?

Yesterday....I am sure that it was.

But today I find that my children are grown,
I am a grandmother,
my grandson is standing...ready to walk.
Will his childhood pass as quickly as his mother's?
Will he be in college tomorrow?
Will he have his own family tomorrow?

Tomorrow....I will wake up an old woman.
(Well, maybe not tomorrow, literally...but figuratively!)

Life passes so quickly, for sure!
The important thing is making each moment count....
enjoying each moment for what it brings.
And, if you have a dream...making that dream reality today...
Tomorrow comes so quickly!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's A Dog's Life

With Hubbs being on vacation and home this week,
we are trying to build more playtime into each day.

Yesterday afternoon the sun beckoned us.
We decided to treat the big dogs to a walk in the woods.
To them there is nothing more fun than that!

Maddie and Sadie (the girls) stay by our sides.
Oakley and Sam go off on adventures....
nose to the ground, unbridled enthusiasm.

Part of yesterday's walk involved playing ball in the snow.

I took a lot of pictures, 
so I thought you might like to see a slideshow of our walk.
Just as we were coming back out of the woods,
Jenn showed up with Tyler in tow...on his sled...
to finish our walk with us.

Come along with us...
on our trek through the Hundred Acre Wood......

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pests

Every afternoon for the past couple of weeks,
as I enter the upper chicken houses to gather eggs,
I am greeted by a flock of Grackles hastily exiting the chicken
house as I open the door.
Each time it happens, I am expecting it...but am startled none-the-less.

We have always left our chicken house doors open during the day
and never had this bird "squatter" problem before.
I guess with this year's extended cold weather,
the wild birds are looking for a bit of respite.


What better place than a fully loaded chicken house!


Yesterday Hubbs solved the problem by cutting a tiny
chicken-sized door at the base of the front door
on each chicken house.


Hinges on the inside and a hook and eye keep the door
open during the day, and these little doors keep 
the grackles from flying in to roost.

Yay!  Thanks Hubbs....problem solved!


In response to yesterday's post, 
I had a question regarding the neat little row of dog houses 
on the one farm picture.
These little houses provide shelter for each of our goats.
Each goat has his/her own house...
fully loaded (with hay of course).

We have found that these little houses are the perfect size
for our goats...
providing warmth and shelter from the weather.

And....last week I wrote a post about our afternoon
"Love Fests"
where Sam and Scarlet compete for the affections of one
handsome barn kitty...Bobby, the Fearless.
Here is what happens when Sam gets a little too playful
for Bobby's liking...

Sam: "Hey, where' ya going??" [bite, bite, bite]

Bobby "High enough that you can't get me!"

Bobby: "Can't a guy get a little peace around here?"

Sam: "Come back down, Bobby...I promise 
I won't be so rough!"

Tom Tom: "Hey Bobby, wanna play?"

Bobby: "Nope."

Sam: "Come on, guys....let's play!"

Tom Tom: "Hey Bobby, let's just ignore the dog...it'll drive him crazy!"

Needless to say, Sam quickly forgot why he was sitting
at the fence,
and went over to bother Scarlet, instead.
Sam: "Hey Scarlet, wanna play?"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Phil May Have Lied!!

We have a major case of Spring fever here on the farm.
Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating.

We were spoiled by last week's high temperatures.
Now the weather is back to what is typical for February.
We've had a little more snow and more is on the way.

Even the Roos have Spring fever and refuse to stay indoors.
They do, however, find a higher perch than the ground.


The guineas seek higher ground also,
and spend their days hanging out with the Nigerian goats,
who are always undaunted by any weather conditions.


I thought I would share another view of the farm with you.
I took this picture from above our upper horse pastures.
There are 4 equal sized pastures in front of me and the barn in the
distance.  These fields provide adequate summer grazing for the horses.
We have the ability to connect any of the fields to each other
with gates that swing out across these pathways between....
giving the horses access to 1, 2, 3 or all 4 fields at one time.

Fields #1 and #2 are directly behind #3 and #4.
As I stand here taking this picture,
our 100 acres of woodlands and our riding arena are 
located behind me.
To my left are the goats, chickens, 
my sister-in-law Becky's log home 
and yet more woods...
through them lies our log farmhouse.

This wooded area is located next to our barn,
and was extremely hard hit by the last ice storm
and several wind storms that followed.
We will never have to cut down a single tree to heat our house.
There are enough that have fallen to last our lifetime
and that of our kids.
Our challenge will be keeping enough sharpened chain saw
blades on hand!

In closing, I must say:
I believe that Punxatawney Phil may have lied.
There seems to be a bit more winter left for us to face this year.
Guess I will hunker down, sew, and bake more cookies!
The late winter clean up will have to wait.

Monday, February 21, 2011

We're Back...And You Didn't Even Know We Were Gone!!

Happy Monday!!
We returned last evening from a whirlwind trip to Charlotte, N.C.
We flew down Friday evening to spend the weekend with one of the
"kids", Ryan and his girlfriend.
We hiked and visited and dined...basically packing as much
activity into the weekend as possible.

It was a great quick get-a-way from early morning chores
and farm work.
Unfortunately, it leaves me with no "story" for today.

I do have a little update for you, however.

We've had a big thaw after several days of 60 - 70 degree weather
(unfortunately it is back into the 30's and 40's now).
The pond is no longer frozen....and the ducks are very happy.
At least 17 of the ducks are happy.
Sadly, though, number 18 has gone missing.
I fear he has fallen prey to a hungry animal.
Up to this point, I was so happy that all 18 ducks had made it 
almost a whole year.
Oh well...I guess it could be worse.

Such is life on the farm.
We try everything possible to keep our animals healthy and alive...
yet, nature has a way of weeding them out.

On a lighter note,
we have been aware that there has been a visitor to our
200+ year old log cabin.
Although we keep it locked and under video surveillance,
we still manage to get an occasional visitor or squatter.

Here 
is 
the 
fellow 
that 
we 
have 
spotted
hanging
around....
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.


Bet that's not what you expected, now, is it????

Have a wonderful Monday.
We will be spending our day doing a bit of late winter
clean up...
cutting down the tall grasses,
cleaning up fallen limbs,
raking leaves,
cleaning out bluebird houses,
and all of the other normal farm chores.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Practical Guide

You may have heard what paleontologists found 
when they ran DNA tests on the skeletal remains of T. Rex.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex's DNA was most closely related to
that of the chicken!

And if you have had the opportunity to own a rooster,
you will definitely believe this to be true.


Anyone who has heard a rooster running up behind them
will admit that at least a tiny shiver goes down one's spine
at that moment...
and just a fleeting thought that one might be devoured in the process!


At the present time, we have many roosters.
And, amazingly, we have no problems with any of the roosters.


Now, I don't think that I am a rooster expert by any means,
but I have developed A Practical Guide to Roosters for those of you
who might be considering adding one of these handsome tyrants to your flock.

Here are a few highlights from my forthcoming guide...


A Practical Guide to Roosters

(Remember...you only need a rooster if you want fertile eggs.)
  1. Be advised.... roosters live for one thing and one thing only... procreation.  So, don't get in the way when a rooster is doing what he does best.
  2. Keep a high hen to rooster ratio (See number 1) or your few hens will be very stressed.  I have found that 20 (or more) to 1 works well.
  3. Don't be under the false assumption that you can bribe a rooster with food.  Roosters are only interested in one thing (See number 1).
  4. Never look a rooster in the eye.  This will be perceived as an act of aggression and he may challenge you to a duel.  You will lose.
  5. Never make chicken noises in the presence of a rooster.  For all you know, a little "cock-a-doo" or "doodle-do" from your lips could mean an invitation to duel.  Dueling with a rooster is not something you want to try.  You will lose.
  6. When walking toward a rooster, do not step aside, but maintain your course, and keep your eyes down.  Again, you would not want innocent actions to be misconstrued as a challenge. You will lose.
  7. Do not wear a red hat in the presence of a rooster.... he may decide that you, too, are a rooster and challenge you to a duel.  I repeat....you will lose.
  8. Never chase a rooster. (See numbers 4 thru 7.)
  9. If you have multiple roosters and not enough hens for a good ratio, sequester these roosters far from the hens.  Males can live together quite congenially if there are no females around. (It is true for every species that males will go to war to compete for the favors of a female.)  By themselves, males will spend the day happily snacking, loafing, chest-butting, and comparing "big fish" stories.


If you have roosters, you probably had a little chuckle.

If you are considering having roosters....
Be ye warned!

And for those of you who remember last summer's tribulations
 of Eileen and her Bumblefoot....

Eileen limpeth not!

Here she is proudly standing on both feet.
It was a long haul, but she healed just fine.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Bump, My Bump, My Lovely Baby Bump

Before I start today's post I must thank you 
for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's post.
It is good sometimes to take a trip back into the past
 for those of you who have joined our fun recently.
I started this blog 5 years ago....
and so much has happened in those 5 years!

So, thanks to all of your positive feedback, 
I will definitely work on a video tour of our home to share with you....
that is, as soon as I finish my spring housecleaning 
(I did windows yesterday!!).

I am also planning an outside tour of the grounds, 
gardens, barn, critters, etc....
but that can wait until the earth greens up a bit!
***********************
Now, about those bumps (see title).

Myrtle, Sissy, and O'Malley are our pregnant does,
and they are beginning to show their baby bumps.

Especially Myrtle, who looks as though she is expecting
triplets! 
(That's what she had last spring.)



Myrtle is just the best breeding doe.  She has easy pregnancy,
good births, and is a great Mama.
Myrtle is due mid-March.

Her 2 year old daughter Sissy is pregnant, too.
She is showing more than is evident at this angle,
but Sissy is very curious and refused to stand still for a picture.


Sissy is due at the end of March.

Last, but certainly not least, is O'Malley.
O'Malley walks with a very pregnant waddle,
 and is getting quite wide.


If O'Malley were human,
she would spend her entire pregnancy on the couch
with a spoon in a gallon of Hagen Daz!

I just had to show you this picture of Smoochie.
Old Smooch had a little trouble breeding O'Malley
this year...he just couldn't get the job done.
(Don't worry, Skip stepped in and pinch hit for him.)
Looking at this picture makes me think that perhaps
Smoochie is all show!!
He certainly knows how to strike a pose.

Well, he has one more chance to perform.
If he fails again......castration!

With the warmer temperatures we are having this week,
we have been trying to take walks with Tyler and the dogs.
We start out like this....
(Old Hickory, our 15 year old rescue scampering along.)

(Tyler in stroller, bink in mouth.)

And we end up like this....

(Hickory in stroller, too...an old girl can only walk so far!)
******************
Well, I can hardly wait for kidding season...
to be able to share all of the adorable
little ones with you...
their soft, cuddly, sweet loviness
and
their hysterical antics as they grow.

What fun we all have awaiting us this spring!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Looking Back....

I recently had a blog friend ask me for more pictures of our house.
So, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane....
with a little history of the farm.

The farm has been a part of our family for the past 10 years.
Originally bought with friends as a weekend retreat,
it served as a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life
in the city and suburbs.

During these years, we started to acquire our goats, chickens, and horses.
We gardened, and started orchards and split our time between two homes...
(exhausting lifestyle!)

Several years later, our friends and partners bought a retreat
on the Chesapeake.
Three homes were more than they needed,
 so they sold their half of the farm to us.


Owning two homes was more than we bargained for.
Commuting an hour to take care of critters and gardens
made no sense, so.....
We sold our home in the suburbs, and headed to the farm full time.


The original farm house was actually a contemporary home,
not our taste in style, and wrought with problems.
Living in this home full time was out of the question.
The heating bills alone would have broken the bank...
not to mention the structural problems that had occurred over the years.


We tore down the contemporary home and had
it taken away for salvage.  By the time it was torn down,
there was nothing left but the block foundation,
which we removed and buried deep in one of our cornfields. 


In place of this contemporary structure,
we built the home of our dreams...
a log home.


It took from November till July to build our home.
During these months we spent a lot of time
in the guest house...
a one room A-frame with a sleeping loft...
very, very small cozy.

And we happily took residency in the summer of 2009.


Driving up the long driveway, you approach the house at this angle.


This is the upper back deck which runs along the entire back of the house.
It connects to a screen porch off the kitchen.


The front of the house has an upper deck and a lower
porch.


It took a while to get a nice yard.
This was the first year.


By the next summer, things were looking better.


The barn is quite a distance from the house,
and still matches the color scheme of the old house.
It has several stalls, a workshop, a greenhouse,
feed room, and a hay loft.
The vegetable garden resides within the tall fence in the forefront.
In the very front is one of our 4 upper pastures.


More landscaping projects last summer helped to finish
off the look of the front yard.


Several truck loads of mulch later, we were happy with the look.


One of my favorite touches is the beehive weathervane 
on top of the garage.
The landscaping remains a work in progress,
as do the gardens and orchards and berry patches.

I am thinking that I should do a walking tour of the house at some
point...video style....what do you think?

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