Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Who's Who....Part 7

I often get the question...
"Which animals take the most time to care for?"

The answer to that is easy...no thought necessary.
The horses!

Cleaning up their manure three times daily...
plus cleaning the pastures,
feeding (in the winter time, they need lots of hay...often),
grooming, bathing, cleaning sheaths, clipping bridle paths,
and trimming hooves every few weeks.

And what do they give back in return?
Not that much!
Love? I won't delude myself into believing that.
Hours of entertainment, for sure.

But, still, I love having them.
There is nothing more satisfying to me than driving by my pasture 
and seeing them peacefully grazing.

Moonbeam is our only full size equine.

He is a Haflinger (originally from Austria) and a carriage horse.
(not so much of a riding horse to my chagrin)

Donnie Brascoe and Scarlet are brother and sister and are
Shetland sized ponies.

Sweet natured, and very easy to handle,
Donnie is perfect for pony rides for small children.

Red and Ollie are mini horses.

Ollie came to us first...
an orphan at three weeks of age.

We added Red a few months later as company for Ollie.
Red is actually Ollie's half brother.

These five equines share a dry lot and pasture and get along wonderfully.
Moonbeam is the alpha horse, with the ponies second in command.
This works out beautifully, and has made the minis 
very submissive and easy to work with.

All five of them are easy keepers and require minimal feed...
they get fat just breathing air, I swear!
Over the past year we seem to have found the right formula
for keeping them from getting too fat...

just a few hours of grazing in the morning
with supplemental hay in small quantities throughout the day.
Their feed is basically just a vitamin/mineral supplement.

What fun Sammy has with the horses!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Who's Who....Part 6

I thought today we could take a trip down memory lane....

It seems like only yesterday...

Baby Ginger

Baby MaryAnn

Tell me...
could you have possibly resisted these adorable little ones?
We sure couldn't, and so they came home 
to live on the farm.
And we have never regretted that decision for even a second!

Tyler, Maddie, and the girls last autumn...

Tyler, Maddie, and the girls this summer...

My, how everyone (except Maddie) has grown!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Who's Who....Part 5

Years ago, when we decided to have hens for eggs,
we made it a point to avoid roosters.
We bought our hens as chicks at the feed store.
And all were hens.

And there was peace on the farm.

The next summer, we decided to increase our flock;
and ordered 25 chicks from McMurray Hatchery.
And from that group of 25, one hen grew into an "Amazon" chicken...
taller than the rest.

It wasn't long until it was apparent that a rooster had been slipped into the group.
That first "cock-a-doodle-do" gave him away!
Enter Elvis.

And still there was peace on the farm.
Oh, and by the way, I fell in love with the sound of roosters crowing in the morning.

So the next summer when it was time to order more chickens,
I made it a point to order another rooster.

This time I chose the breed that I wanted...
a very colorful fellow...
named Hank.

And there was no more peace on the farm.
Yes, Hank was the rooster from "%$#^$".

Once fully mature, Hank's daily entertainment was chasing down
and flogging whoever crossed his path.

Eventually, (after drawing blood) 

Hank was put to rest...humanely...by lethal injection.

And there was once again peace on the farm.

The next summer brought a group of fancy Polish crested chickens to the farm.
And amongst them...a crazy rooster named....
Rod Stewart.

Rod is still with us today.
He's been the favorite rooster on the farm,
(and many have come and gone in the mean time)
until this year's arrival of Elton.

Sr. Elton is a silky rooster who lives with the donkey girls.
He's the most people-friendly rooster we have ever had!

Along they way, there has been Ole Roy
(who is still with us).

Those 6 frat brothers (the Ameraucanas)...
of which only three remain.

And Henri, our gender confused Polish crested

who disappeared this summer.

With four henhouses, the seven remaining roosters are kept quite busy.
Luckily (for the hens) four of them are living the life of bachelors.

I am happy to say that at the present time...
there is still peace on the farm!

And so, for a farm that originally was to be a "Rooster-free" zone,
we have had our share of boys along the way.
Oh, the stories we can share about our crazy Roos!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who's Who.... Part 4

It seems that everyone that visits the farm is amazed by our turkeys,
Tom and Chuck.

These two handsome fellows are Bourbon Reds,
a heritage breed of turkey.
Originally we had ordered 4 just-hatched turkey poults.

Only three lived...
Tom, Chuck, and Edith.

These three were inseparable.

In time, Tom became the dominant male, and the only one who could mate with Edith.
Any time Chuck tried, Tom would beat him up!

These friendly creatures were anywhere we happened to be...
helping out with farm chores...
like painting....

Edith was the most adventurous of the three,
and loved to destroy the Fairy Garden....
like a giant dinosaur.

This past Spring we lost Edith while she was sitting on a nest of eggs.

(The victim of a sly old fox.)

Tom and Chuck were despondent,
and so were we.

Nowadays, it's just the two of them...
following us everywhere we go!

They just keep looking for love....
hopefully someday, a lovely young turkey lady will come along for each of them!

Our experience with turkeys has been so positive,
that we can honestly say...
we will always have a few turkeys around the farm!
(And turkey eggs are delicious, too!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Who's Who....Part 3


Happily, our little band of teenagers continues to hang out with the elders,
Gus, Giuseppe, and Guido.

They spend their day roaming the farm and visiting with the critters.

"Why guineas?" You ask?

Well, simply...
because they eat bugs...
and not just any old bug (although they do),
but they eat ticks and stink bugs.

And let's not overlook the obvious...
guineas are beautiful!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who's Who - Part 2

We've gone to the dogs.
But, that's nothing new.
You may have guessed from the occasional dog popping up in any given picture,
that we have a few dogs.

Yes, we do.
Have a few.
Five, to be exact.

Now, I have to tell you, we never intended to end up with five dogs.
Somehow it just happened.
It was all their fault.
They found us.

In the beginning there was Sadie.
Sadie is our 8 year old Bernese Mountain dog.

She has been with us since she was 8 weeks old.
She is loyal, true and infinitely loving to us, her family.
You....well, that's another story.
She might like you, and she might not.
There's no predicting....she's a little quirky...
sort of an autistic version of a dog.

But... we love her and she loves us...fiercely!

Then when Sadie was 2, we got Maddie, our Newfie...
thinking Sadie needed a friend for company.

Obviously, we did not consult Sadie.
If we had she would have reminded us that since she is not a dog,
then she doesn't need another dog for company!

And so for the next 4 years life was uncomplicated with only 2 dogs.

Then Sadie had a cancerous tumor and we realized that she would not be with us forever.
Maddie, being attached to Sadie (even though Sadie did not return the sentiment) 
would be left alone and sad if something happened to Sadie.

So, we decided that adopting a rescue for a third dog was the thing to do.
And along came Oakley.

Long story, short.... we found Oakley online in a kill shelter in Kentucky,
(two days before he was scheduled to be put "down")
had him transported to Pennsylvania and quickly fell in love with this
sweet fellow.

He is the perfect farm dog and helps to keep our lands free from predators.
With the exception of a few incidents with skunks and a porcupine,
has been a perfect gentleman.

And so there were three.

Two months later,
Sam ended up on the farm.

Owned by one of our kids, but not a good dog for apartment life,
"Bad Sam" became the perfect farm dog as his life magically 
transformed into days filled with adventure and lots of exercised...
both of which he needs.

Sam is one quarter each of beagle, poodle, rottweiler, and chow.
And it's easy to see.... he hunts like a beagle, runs like a poodle, plays (growls) like a rottweiler,
and is the color of a chow.

And then there were four.

That same month, Hickory our Norfolk terrier (then 15) needed a home to save her from
finishing her life in a pound.

We couldn't let that happen....
Hickory is 17 now and such a part of our family...
we wish we could have her with us forever!

And then there were five!

So, you see....it just happened.
Eventually we will be back down to two dogs...
but we are in no hurry for that day as we love all five so very much!


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