Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turf Wars

So many of my posts share a common theme...
how well our farm animals get along between species.

That's not saying that the farm is without conflict.
No, there's at least one war daily.
The funny thing is...
the fighting is always limited to two particular species.

For example, right now there is a turf war amongst the roosters.
The henhouse close to our barn has been the scene of a hostile takeover.
Rod Stewart has kicked Henri and Rooster Number 5 and 6 out of the house.


Rod has become one big bad rooster.


It's funny, because prior to this he was always the wimpy Pee Wee Herman type.
I guess since he is the eldest rooster, he has decided to claim 
the henhouse and all of the hens as his own.


The unlucky ousted roos are stuck sleeping in the maple tree outside the henhouse.
When winter and snows come, I will have to open the upstairs of the barn for these
fellows to get out of the elements.


The second group of animals in fighting mode is the cats.


Ever since Sophia moved into the barn there is at least one cat fight daily....
usually over food...
resulting in Sophia retreating to the rafters.


From this safe vantage point, she hisses demeaning slander to whomever has 
infringed upon her space.

So, you see, although life on the farm is somewhat idyllic,
it is not without a little conflict.
Given a little time, though, these little spats usually work out just fine.

You might remember how we were plagued by a black bear this past Spring.
The destruction of our bird feeders and a few visits to our decks and garage
by this rather large fellow prompted us to call the Game Commission
for the placement of a trapping device with the hopes that our pesky
interloper could be relocated.
No such luck.
We succeeded in catching a raccoon and an opossum, but no bear.

In fact we were under the impression that the bear had moved on,
since we had no further visits after the trap arrived.
That is until this week.
(Picture courtesy of bear-tracker.com)
Our neighbor spotted 3 bears coming out of the woods next to our house this week.
Needless to say, the bird feeders are down.
The garage is closed.
And we are being quite cautious.
By the end of the month, these bears should be in hibernation for the rest of the winter.
I just wonder what Spring will be like when they wake up hungry!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ginger Running

We have been quite fortunate since that freak snowstorm that hit us the first week of November.
Since then temperatures have reached 55-60 just about every day!
It seems that this year Old Man Winter teased us once and went into hiding.

He can just stay hidden...
at least until Christmas.

The warmer weather makes morning chores so much easier.
Greeting the sunrise at the barn...


Letting the chickens out to free range,
and cleaning their coops...


Hay for the horses...
I wish I could share with you how peaceful this time of day is.
(Except for the fact that this is "deer season"....
so my peace is interrupted by the sound of gunfire.)
(With each blast I pray for the deer...praying that it escaped harm.)


The cats get very impatient...
waiting for their breakfast...
following me everywhere lest I forget it.
Don't worry, TomTom...
you are next on my list.


Feeding cats is Hickory's favorite activity of the day.
This 16 year-old partially blind gal rides along to the barn each morning,
just so she can lick the cat food can.
Then she makes the quarter mile hike back to the house for a nap,
while I finish the rest of the chores.


Sophia has become much more visible around the barn.
Occasionally a scuffle breaks out between her and Ella,
but for the most part they avoid each other,
and peaceful co-existence prevails.
(You might notice she has a scratch on her nose from the last "cat fight.")


I have come to the conclusion that the pigs live to eat.
They start squealing and grunting as soon as the hear the gator pull up to the barn.
As I open their stall door with hands full of feed,
they rush into the aisle making a barking sound.
Then they follow me back into their stall and set about consuming their breakfast.


For some reason, this little hen has taken to sitting on an empty nest in the barn.
Each day I pick her up, carry her back to the henhouse,
and close up the barn.
Hours later, there she is again...
stubbornly defending her nest and squawking a warning call when I come near.j
She's the toughest broody hen I have ever had to deal with.
The funny thing is....
there are no eggs in her nest....she hasn't laid any for days.


I have been keeping the dogs close to me since hunting season has started.
Ollie doesn't mind at all....
it just gives him more opportunity to pester the horses.


Oakley and Leo share a little lovin...


The Christmas season is a favorite amongst the goats.
They love the tree trimmings that they get for snacks.
When the trees come down on New Year's Day,
they get tossed into the goat pens...
a delectable feast for days following.


I have been trying to capture a video of the pigs running to share with you.
Each day when I take them out to graze,
they kick up their heels and run around the pen with abandon.
Yesterday I finally captured Ginger on the run....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Family Time

We had a scrumptiously wonderful Thanksgiving here on the farm...


filled with good food, laughter, and fellowship.


The farm was a flurry of activity for 5 solid days.


All of our kids were home.


Tyler was here.


Family.
Old friends.
New friends.

Beautiful warm days and cold, clear nights provided the back drop 
for feasting, playing with the animals,
skeet shooting, camping in the woods,
and hysterical laughter over the silliest of things.


The animals received extra doses of loving.
The chickens received lots of scraps.

All in all, everyone had a perfect holiday.
And now it's back to every-day-farm-life...
preparing for the upcoming holidays,
and readying the farm for the winter to come.

We have ordered new garden boxes that should be delivered soon.
After a summer of endless weeding,
I have decided to take my strawberry patch above ground.
Garden boxes will make the strawberry patch much more manageable
in the years to come.
I will share the "building of boxes" when they arrive.

Last, but not least, I have to share this picture.
And although it is not farm related,
I am sure when you look at it you will understand
why I just had to share it....


Tyler had some professional pictures taken.
I knew you'd enjoy them!
Here is a little smile for you...hope your day is as happy as this!....



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble Gobble


Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us on the farm,
to you and yours...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
We all have so very much for which to be thankful!

And PS...to answer a question about our turkeys...
No, we will never eat them.
Ever.

PSS....I will be taking the rest of the week off from
blogging to enjoy the company of family and friends.
May your holiday be "stuffed" with good food and good times!!
See you Monday for more "Tails From The Farm."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drizzly Days


A half hour's break in yesterday's drizzle was all it took
for the goats to venture out for their supper.


You see, our fainting goats are fair weather animals.
They seek shelter in their houses as soon as the weather looks ominous.
They lounge indoors all day munching on hay.


We used to provide room service, but have stopped doing that,
as they invariably drag their bowls to the very back of their houses....
requiring us to crawl on our hands and knees the next day to retrieve them.


As for the Dwarf Nigerian goats...


a little rain won't keep them from missing a meal,
but a shower - now that's a different matter.
The fact that they rarely miss a meal, 
might have contributed to their portly stature...


As for the rest of the animals...
the drizzle kept them in and around the barn.


Why is it that when you are trying to clean up manure...
suddenly everyone is interested in it?


Not to mention their snacking on it....
as if to imply that I'm not feeding them enough!
All of our animals are chubby.
What's up with that??

Monday, November 21, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving week!
Don't you just love this holiday?
Lots of family time...just spending time, eating, playing...
without the pressure of gifts and decorating!
It's maybe my most favorite holiday of all.

It is this time of year that we take our annual perimeter walk
around our land and post "No Trespassing" signs
to keep hunters off our land.
You might remember that last year at this time


I lost my camera in the woods while hiking the perimeter.


This year I was extra special careful while walking.


Hubbs and Amanda placed new signs around the property
and I hand carried my camera!

A little time spent with the piggies topped off our day.


They are becoming excellent grazers and really enjoy
their time out of doors.
The turkeys are very curious about them and graze right along side them.


Lucky turkeys....
it's good that they have no clue how many of their cousins
are going to be consumed in the upcoming week!



PS....
Donald and Sophia have recuperated nicely from last week's surgery.
It's back to life as usual.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Farm Surgeries

Yesterday was surgical day.
Poor Sophia lost her uterus and ovaries.
She was a little wacky waking up from anesthesia.


Our Sophia has had her last litter of kittens....
her uterus showed signs of previous pregnancy.

Dr. Becky said she seemed to be a couple years old,
but in very good condition.
We are even wondering if perhaps she is Leo's mother...
they both appeared within a few weeks of each other...
who knows!
Sophia will spend the next couple days recuperating in the barn.

Sophia is not the only one who went under the knife yesterday.....


Donald, our polled (hornless) buckling born to O'Malley this past spring
was castrated yesterday as well.


Here he is sleeping off his anesthesia.

We were unable to sell him,
so we will keep him as a companion goat.

You might remember that I had mentioned we were considering 
castrating Smoochie... since he has failed to perform his duties the past two years.


Update:  Becky has decided to try to mate him with Myrtle next year...
so Smoochie gets one more chance.
Three strikes, and you're out, Smoochie!

The boys and I took advantage of the day without rain
and went for a run in the woods...


It's their most favorite thing in the whole world.
This is what unbridled joy looks like....


Wild abandon!
Hope you have a little wild abandon, yourself,
this weekend.
Make it a great one!
See you Monday....for more tails from the farm.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

I had planned to show you photos of fog hanging over fields,
dry leaves blowing in windy rain showers,
goats, nestled dry and warm in their houses,
bedraggled, soggy horses who don't have enough sense to use the shelter they are given,
and chickens that looked like they just stepped out of the shower.

All of that and more I had planned.
Alas....
both cameras had dead batteries.
Both.
At the same time.

I will never let that happen again.

So, instead of artsy scenery shots of perfectly dreadful, dreary weather,
I will show you what I did instead.


I sat in the stall with the pigs
and rubbed bellies.
(their favorite thing in all the world)

And while I did that,
Sammy did this.


Hopefully I have not offended you,
but Sammy likes clean piggies!


Sammy loves the pigs,
almost as much as Maddie does.
Maddie feels motherly towards them.
Sam, just likes the way they taste.
That Sam!

Meanwhile, Leo looks on...


He is never far from the pigs.

Our newest barn kitty, Sophia,
is scheduled for spaying tomorrow.


I feel sorry for her, having to go through that and not understanding why,
but we cannot afford to have a litter of kittens move into the barn.


Poor Sophia.... Sam will gladly look after you!


Today the plumber/electrician start working on the arena.
The exterior shell is almost complete.
With the recent rain, the construction crew has been putting in the interior walls
and hanging the doors.
Another week or two, and we will be riding high and dry!
I can't wait to show you the finished building.

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