Friday, August 31, 2012

Just Ducky!

Three new girls arrived on the farm yesterday afternoon.
They needed a home.
Much to the shock and dismay of the old flock...

they arrived in a crate...

at first hard to discern....
"how many? what color?  looks like white... are they girls? boys?
friend or foe?" was heard amongst the quacks.

Then the crate was opened and out popped three heads....

three white heads with red faces
and one with black spots on its head.

They emerged and suddenly "they" became "the gals".

Meet Mrs. Wellington, Beulah May, and Edith.
(Yes, another Edith...but she came with that name, so we certainly cannot change it!)

"What's this?  Well, it's a whole lot of water!"

"And over here?.... Food!"

"This place might not be so bad after all."
"Let's try out the water....

(they waddled across the pond through the shallow end...
me thinks they cannot swim!)

(Have I told you that we keep a radio playing in the duck hut to discourage the foxes,
and a light shines at night to keep the owls away!)
(We love our ducks!)

Meanwhile, back in the barnyard...

"Chloe...what happened to your fly mask?"
Who do you suppose did this?
I can only imagine...

Oh and the donkeys wanted to show you our new two headed donkey!
Amazing, right?

Happy Labor Day weekend to you all...
may your days be filled with fun and sunshine.
Ours will be spent on the farm with family...
my favorite little buddy Tyler is coming for a visit!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hunting and Gathering

I was in the pigpen yesterday, scooping poop...

(I have to digress here and tell you that these gals are the cleanest animals we own.
They have two corners of their yard that they have designated as their bathrooms,
and those are the only places that they will "go!")

Back to scooping poop...
I became aware of a noise behind me.
A thud, thud, thud from the area of the walnut tree.

Now, I am used to the sound of walnuts dropping in the late summer,
but this "thudding" came with such regularity that it peaked my curiosity.
I walked over to find an inordinate amount of walnuts right beneath the tree....

and a crafty little squirrel in the top of the tree, 
who was systematically harvesting those large green balls of nutty goodness.

Ginger and MaryAnn, realizing that I had left their pen,
also came to the fence to see what was happening.

(Besides being very clean, pigs are also very nosey.)

I stood there and watched that little squirrel hop from branch to branch,
dropping walnut after walnut,
and I was reminded how much all of us "animals" have in common.

That little squirrel was doing the same thing that I have been doing for the past 
several weeks....
filling his larder with provisions for the cold months ahead.

The only difference is this:

most likely I will remember where I have stored all of our food...
and most likely, Mr. Squirrel won't.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hay Crisis!

"Ahhemm...could I have everyone's attention?"

"Do I really have to tell them, Mom?"

"Ok, listen up, everyone....
it looks like we are going to have a critical hay shortage around here this year.
We are all going to have to do our part and eat just a little less hay.
It's time to tighten our belts a little bit."

"What about all that hay in the field?"

(Sadly, that hay has been hit by too much rain and is not salvageable.
Jim and I have worked Tin Lizzy like crazy,
trying to dry the no avail.)

"Less hay!!  We might all starve!"

"Now, don't worry, kids...
there will still be enough for all of us.
But we can't be wasting any of it...
and we could all stand to lose just a little weight!"

"Speak for yourself, Moonbeam!"

"If I get too hungry, I'll just take a bite out of Daphne!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Need of a Makeover!

I finished the weekend all shiny, clean and refreshed....

Why is it that by Monday night I looked a bit more like this?....

It might have been due to the fact that I stowed about 120 bales of hay in the barn
yesterday afternoon.

Jim emptied the wagon and loaded the hay elevator, and I stacked the hay in the barn.

Sammy and TomTom helped in their usual way (not!).

And that was after I had canned 9 jars of ground cherry/orange jam,
and 8 jars of (really hot) hot pepper relish.
After throwing around hay bales, 
I raked the hay field in an attempt to dry the remaining hay.

Hopefully by the end of the week we can have the rest of the hay put away.

And so, here I am...
Monday evening...
wrung out, exhausted, and in need of mass quantities of chocolate....
(and a shower or a makeover!)

Actually, this is Ivanka, our Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken...
in the midst of her yearly moult.
If you are new to raising chickens, prepare yourself for the shock
when your flock goes through their first moulting....
it's quite dramatic!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Anniversary

We finished our summer vacationing this past weekend
at the Chesapeake Bay with friends and family.
Kayaking, bicycling, and water skiing activities helped us to say goodbye
to our old friend summer.
Hubbs tried his hand at water skiing, after almost 30 years since his last time.
He got up on the first try!

I, on the other hand, decided that after the kind of week I had had last week;
perhaps I ought not tempt fate.
So, I stayed in the safety of the boat (this time).

Our neighbors, Jim and Kathy, took care of the animals,
and our friend Kelley took care of the dogs.

I don't think they missed us much....

enjoying fun activities like walks
(even old Hickory!)

They were excited to see us on our arrival home and we took some time
to play their favorite games.

(Oakley would play catch until he dropped from exhaustion!)

And catch....
(Maddie loves ball games; but this old gal is too arthritic for chasing balls,
so we play catch instead.)

Focussed anticipation.....

she never misses a ball.

Our summer fun is winding down.
For the most part, now, we will be home on the farm
enjoying the transition into autumn.

I mentioned last week that we were just about to bring in the hay....
well, 100 bales made it into the barn....
and the rest of the hay lies in the field....wet with rain.
I told you....there is no bargaining or pleading with Mother Nature.
Hopefully, this week we can get the rest of the hay dry and stowed for winter.
Please.........Mother dear!! is Hubbs and my wedding anniversary.
Happy Anniversary to my very best friend... the center of my world!!

Dearest Hubbs,
It was an incredible summer, wasn't it?
We made memories that will last the rest of our lives.
But even if we never went away from the farm...
I would still be the happiest gal alive... just sharing life with you!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is It Friday Yet?

Ok...this has been quite a week...
a week I am not ready to repeat!

First...Monday, I fell up the basement stairs and face-planted on a wooden step.
What I hoped would be an injury that would make me look more like 
Angelina Joli (lips) ended up just giving me a fat lip on the left
with a big purple bruise on my upper lip not unlike the look of half a mustache!

Tuesday....while wielding a rather large knife, preparing dinner,
I proceeded to cut the tip off of my left ring finger... along with the ribs of Swiss Chard.
Luckily it was Rainbow chard, so the blood blended in.

Thursday (yesterday)....while mowing, I drove headlong into a hornet.
As I sit here typing, the left half of my nose and eye are swelling
and hurt like a son of a gun.

Lessons learned... never play "chicken" with a hornet...
don't try to carry a dozen canning jars up the basement stairs...
and....fingertips are not good in a sauté!

To top it all off, Ginger and MaryAnn escaped yesterday afternoon.
They went on quite an excellent adventure...
slipping out of a corner of some temporary fencing that I put up to extend their grazing area.
(that's the last time I try doing something nice for them!)
Hubbs and I and Jim and Kathy (our friends and neighbors)
spent quite a while searching for them.
Thankfully, Jim chased them out of the woods and they walked back to their yard
willingly.... ready for their dinner.

By the end of the day I needed a bit of humor.
So, off to the donkey yard, to do a little grooming...

Donkeys are quite curious and love to pick things up in their mouth.

They also have a really good sense of humor!
Here is Chloe's impression of a moose.
(She knew I needed a good laugh!)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
It looks like Autumn is settling in on the farm this weekend...
lower temps and chilly nights.
Sweater weather....I love it!

PS.... I had a chance to meet my favorite little buddy, Tyler,
 and his Mommy this week at the park.
 Look who has a big boy haircut!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Donkey Love

So many of my posts involve cross species relationships.
And for the most part, all of our animals get along famously.
The donkeys, however, are a little more picky about who they befriend.

They love the attention of us humans,
and will seek us out whenever we are nearby....

hoping for a snuzzle

or a scratch

or even just to nibble at our shorts!

They tolerate Sam and his "grooming" services.
(this picture was taken in March...can you believe how wooly the girls were?)

But the cats...well, they are a different story.

Leo happened to wander through their lot while coming out to solicit my attention.

Both Daphne and Chloe seemed curious at first.

But after a good whiff of cat, 
Chloe decided he didn't belong and chased him away.

Thankfully, all of our cats are very quick and wary...
easily escaping the strike of the hoof.

This is the worst of the skirmishes, luckily.
For the most part, everyone else gets along famously!

PS....I opened a bit of a discussion yesterday about CAFOs
 (concentrated animal feeding operation)
and got a lot of comments.
If you are interested in a little more info and want to read my "editorial" on the subject,
check out the comments from yesterday's post... I editorialized a bit there.
Please don't mistake me for being harsh....I am just impassioned.
I understand the difficulties families face in today's food market....rising prices,
trying to make our dollars stretch...believe me, I do.
It is my hope that consumers become more aware of what happens "behind the scenes" so they can make educated decisions about their food.


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