Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rooster, round two, and more...

I dutifully caught the rooster last night and tucked him back up in his bachelor pad. I felt quite pleased with myself.  Until this morning, when I noticed something large and dark in there. Ella goat, my most mischievous girl.  She had opened the door, and let herself in to dine upon the delicacy of chicken food.  In so doing, the rooster had made yet another escape.  I will try again tonight. Stay tuned.
Despite this minor frustration, the other animals continue to delight. Check out this Silky chick.
It has one funny feather that hangs over it's little head. It reminds me of an angler fish, and cracks me up every time I see it.

Abraham has really settled in well.  He gets along with all of the other animals, but has developed a special bond with Ella. They eat together, graze together, and rub all over one another.  It is totally charming to see them interact.  

Bravo pup is 6 months old now.  He is an awfully good boy.  Every morning he asks to hop up on the grooming table. I brush him all over and he seems to enjoy the attention.  Then, while I am getting ready for the day, I find Bravo sleeping sweetly on the table.  I think it's adorable.
The baby bunnies are a week old.  I have never raised rabbits before. It is astonishing how fast they grow, and they are sensationally cute.  When I check on them, the whole nest erupts in little squeaks and they begin to hop about like very warm little jumping beans.  I have to restrain myself from peering in at them too often.

The mornings and evenings are chilly now, the nip of fall in the air.  Afternoons have been warm and bright and lovely. It's a happy time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rooster-1, Human- 0...

Our big, handsome, Light Brahma rooster is a gem. The best rooster we have ever had. He calls the hens when he finds a tasty morsel, he defends them from predators, (we saw him tussle with a Red Tailed Hawk, and WIN!) However, he has 3 or 4 hens which are his "special loves," and he loves them so much they have no feathers on their backs.
Exhibit A:
The birds are molting now, so it would be a good time for those feathers to regrow, if he would just leave the girls alone. But he will not. So I devised a plan.  We got a door for the calf hutch that we are not using, and last night put a bag of clean shavings in there, and rigged up a roost for him to sleep on. At dusk, when the birds went into the coop, I picked him up and carried him gently to his new digs.  I thought a little solitary confinement for the boy would give the hens a chance to rest up and let their feathers come in.

This morning, armed with bowls of food and water, I went out to give the unwilling prisoner his breakfast. I cracked the door open and he hit it with every bit of force he had... and blew right past me, crowing in delight.

He proceeded to make whoopie with his favorite hens.  I'll try again tonight.  Hopefully I will be able to outsmart the clucker.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Fall moves me. Literally. I go into nesting mode in a big way.  Furniture gets moved from room to room. Baseboards get scrubbed on bended knee. My vacuum cleaner gets a work out.

This weekend I decided my kitchen was too crowded. I love my kitchen, but it had too much furniture. One thing I didn't need, but love, is the wee little hutch my mother gave me.  I didn't want to put it in the no mans land of the garage, so I found it a new home in my grooming studio.  I like it there.

Today I had the day off, with a physical therapy appointment at 10:00.  It's a 30 minute drive to that appointment, so I had to leave here at 9:30.  I got up early, cooked breakfast for Chris then headed out to do chores.  I hauled hay, freshened water, fed everyone. milked goats.  Bravo trailed along every step of the way, a happy little spirit.  He brings a toy, and I toss it a thousand times.
He runs to fetch it, then tosses it in the air, over and over, running with the sheer joy of being alive. It's contagious.

The morning was cool and crisp and lovely.  Canada geese v'd overhead, calling their lonesome song. It was so fine I didn't want to go back inside. So I cleaned the pony shed, hauling out all the old shavings and replacing them with fresh, fragrant ones. I swept down the spider webs that spring up overnight. I raked the area in front of the shed.  Then I cleaned the bunny hutch, and filled their food and water. I brought them an apple and some dandelion greens.  Next I cleaned the Silkie's wee coop. I even washed the window. Three times.

It looked so pretty I stood back to take a picture.  Ella photo bombed!

While I was in the midst of this cleaning frenzy, I cleaned out the big coop, too.  I washed those windows as well.

I even hung a wreath on their door.  Something simple,tasteful. It's a little crooked and needs a bow, but the birds have not complained.

I figured I'd better check the time, as I surely needed a shower before I headed out.  It was 8:45. All that work done, and done well, and I had plenty of time to shower, get dressed and head out.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  After months of feeling like something less than normal, it felt great to be back in my own little groove. Shavings in my shoes, sweat on my brow, and clean animal housing in my wake.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

After death- new life...

Yesterday I sadly posted about the death of a little Silky chick.

This morning when I went out to feed the stock I saw little Mr. Abbott, looking quite innocent.
And the young lady rabbits, eager for breakfast.
And then I opened the sleeping area door and saw a pile of white fluff. And under the fluff there was movement.
I did a quick count, and I THINK there are seven wee new bunnies snuggled there.  Each about as long as my thumb, round and warm and sweet.  I covered them back up and tiptoed away softly.

Sweet new life at FairWinds.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hard lessons...

Sometimes life on a farmlette is rife with difficulties.

A few weeks ago one of my sweet Silky hens hatched out two wee, fluffy,white chicks.  A while later I noticed that one of the chicks had what is called a "cross bill."  It's little beak was deformed, the bottom half jutting out to the right instead of being centered under the top bill.
I should have put the little thing down when I saw this, but it seemed to be eating and drinking, and was keeping up with it's mama and clutch mate.  It grew and seemed ok, until the last few days.  I cooked it some soft food... rice and scrambled eggs, and it ate. But the beak was worse as it grew. I knew what I should do, but the thought of killing that wee tiny thing just didn't set well with me, and I comforted myself with the thought, "Where there is life there's hope." 

Yesterday I found her little body in the grass.  She was very thin, and I feel terrible. I should have put her down.  Sometimes nature is cruel. I wanted to avoid being cruel myself, and instead left that innocent to die a lingering death.  Hard lesson learned.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Puppy fun...

Bravo has been through three courses of basic obedience classes, starting when he was 8 weeks old.  He is tremendously fun to train. Not only is he smart, learning new things quickly, but he is just so happy about the whole thing.

Today was our second week at "Wag It Games," class.  Dogs learn how to do a variety of things, and then later we will put it all together to have some good times.  Chris came to class today with the camera and caught a few nice shots of the boy at work.

The other dogs in class today were a Briard, a Brittany Spaniel and a Kerry Blue Terrier.
We practiced navigating the ladder obstacle.

Going through hoops in a predetermined pattern.

Going to and laying on a mat on command.

And some super fun "sniff it," scent discrimination games.

There was time for a kiss and a cuddle, too...

Afterwards we took him for a short walk on the beach. The waves scared him a little. We will try again another time.  Then we got him a little cup of vanilla ice cream. That didn't frighten him a bit.  Such a good puppy.  I can't wait to see what other fun things we will learn to do together.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A little help from a friend...

Though my injured shoulder is mending, there are still things I cannot do, and things I sort of can do but am not supposed to, according to my physical therapist.  Gardening is difficult.  I needed to weed, which involves pulling, and mulch, which involves lifting heavy things (50 pound bags.) I also needed to do things that involve digging and hoeing and pruning and other chores that really require two good arms.

Lucky for me I have a friend who is a gardening whiz.

She is so kind, and agreed to come help me out.  First thing this morning, when I was still in my PJ's and enjoying breakfast, she was here.  Bright eyed and vibrating with energy, she went right to work. In 5 hours she weeded, pruned, dug, raked, mulched, hauled and made things pretty.

She works with amazing speed and accuracy. Best of all, she seems to tackle the projects that are most important to me, without me saying a word. And she does things just exactly like I wish I could, only better.

 In no time she realized that any plants she pulled or cut would be welcomed by the goats.  HUGE armfuls of hosta and apple branches, spent sunflowers and weeds were carried to the fence and tossed over.

It was a happy day.  My yard looks prettier, my work load is lessened, and my goats are full of delicious treats.  I am so grateful for friends.