Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Day After

After yesterday's taste of winter, today dawned sunny and bright. Before church, doing chores, I noticed how the ice shined like jewels on the grasses of the pasture, and especially on the tree branches. The birds were so happy to be able to run out in the pasture again, after being cooped up in the weather of yesterday. Beau had turned from a shivering ponysicle into a normal old pony, and was glad to get out of his pen and into the pasture, where he headed for his tree. We notice that he watches the neighbor's three cows a lot, now, and are planning on getting his goat companions soon.

A trip to WalMart for a new fish tank stand took up part of the planned afternoon, and now it is almost 3 and time to put the pork tenderloin in for dinner. Some potatos and a salad should round the meal out nicely.

I just saw Nickie slink by the window headed for the horsepen full of chickens. I now see him starting across to the pond, and wonder about my new little Old English Gamehens. Hmmmm. Nick has been known to take down a songbird occaisionally, so maybe it's time to go out and see what he is up to before finishing emptying the car and starting dinner.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Winter Surprise!

Here it is, March 28, my monthly scrapbooking day with my Lawrence scrap group, and wham! Winter comes back to remind us she is not gone yet! The US is experiencing ice and snow over much of the country, and Kansas is not alone. We had sleet most of the morning, and it has now turned to big fat snowflakes, and the green grass is rapidly disappearing! If it weren't so darn cold and miserable, it would be beautiful!

The dogs are in and the cats, and we have checked the chickens several times today to make sure they are fine. Beau was in the yard for a while, but was turning into a Palomino icicle, so I moved him into his little barn and told him to STAY PUT! in my strictest voice! We put his feed and some water in a fortex for him inside the barn, and I cleaned his big heated trough yesterday while waiting for the vet to come. So far he has minded me, and I see his head down out there, so he must be eating a little. He has enough space to get back on dry bedding, out of the storm, and out of the elements. The only creatures stirring are the ducks and geese, who have been going back and forth all morning, unbothered by the elements. The chickens are smart, and are in their house eating and drinking where it's warmer and dry. The new birds are still in the little henhouse, but their warm light is turned on, and when I checked them, they were all underneath it, staying nicely warm.

This week saw Isis pass, for whatever she had going on with her finally got to be too much. She had not been right for weeks... and we noticed that she held her body close to the ground when she walked. She was not able to fly up to the roost, and slept in the corner of the henhouse. Tuesday I realized she was weak, and put her back under the warm light of the nursing cage, and told husband she was not looking good. She had been such a beautiful good girl that we hated to put her down, but it was resolved for us, and Wednesday she was gone when I went out to open up and do morning chores. It felt as if she had two weeks worth of eggs in her, despite 13 years of chicken keeping, I had never come up against that before. I wish I had had the courage to open her up and see what was going on.

The flakes are huge now, and maybe we will really accumulate two to four inches. It will be gone by tomorrow, as it is supposed to get up to 44 degrees. I hope so, I am ready for spring. We didn't get the plowed garden tilled, so I am going to call the man back and have him come and do it sometime this week, and then be ready to start my garden for the year.

March Madness... so back to the tv to watch the games!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Week Without a Message

I didn't intend to go a week without blogging, but sometimes life catches up with you and you just don't realize that you haven't set aside personal time.

We had a busy week at Calamity Acres, once we settled down about the loss of our dear old fuzzy faced Lacey. It was hard to drive by "The Spot" on the driveway each day coming and going, and not think of her.

Beau settled down after three or four days of calling her, and has become resigned to be the Only Horse. We are hoping to get him some caprine friends sooner rather than later, but Husband has a full week of work ahead of him, and I can no longer do fence alone. (in my decrepit old age).
As soon as we can, some Nigerian Dwarf goats will come to keep him company, along with his goose.
On Friday night, I went to the Gasper Family Farm in Linwood, Kansas, to purchase some additional egg layers. The Gaspers were personable CSA farmers, who readily answered all questions about the care of their organically raised pullets. It's fun to "talk chicken" with people who know what they are talking about, and I was able to observe their Gloucestershire Old Spot hogs in the pasture, and their Akbash guard dog. I got four nice pullets, who are in the little henhouse getting used to living at Calamity Acres, and eating their heads off. We hope to get some nice eggs from them.
Saturday morning was spent at a bi-annual poultry and gamebird auction with my middle grandson, Nathan. We saw a lot of expensive poultry, but we came home with three tiny Old English Gamebird hens for the little roosters, in the red pyle coloration. We brought additionally home 3 beautiful silky pullets.... after seeing some gorgeous colors of silkies. We didn't want any more roosters (8 IS enough) and when 3 pullets came up for auction, I was quick to bid and got them. Though the auction was going on until the evening, we left at noon since we figured our birds had eaten all the feed they had been checked in with on Friday, and we were right. They rode peacefully home to join the Production Reds in the little henhouse, and all ten girls are currently getting aquainted. The roosters have heard them and are knocking at the door... I could hear them tap tapping while I fed the girls yesterday from the backside of the henhouse, but they will have to dream on until a week has gone by and I am sure the new birds are healthy. We are a little worried about the snakes getting the OEG's as they are very small, but they are lively, so perhaps it will be okay.
Dovey, our grey hen on the eggs in the big nest, has a half eaten eggshell next to her, so we know a rat or snake has been trying to get under her. We don't want same to get an OEG as I bought them for the delight of the little guys, One, Two, Three and Four, and Butch, Studly and Curley.
Nathan had his very first ride on Beau this weekend, as we had not realized that he was actually fearful of the horses. He kept a deathgrip on my right shoulder as we walked along, but did very well for the first time up, and bareback at that. Beau was a beaut, and walked along sedately as I lead Nate around. We'll get a blanket this week for Beau's saddle, and the next time Nate visits, he'll get another ride and we will get him over his fear of large animals. He's a cat person, as he reminds me often, but the dogs adore him.
Sitting out in the garden, I had Lilly laying by me when we heard sirens coming up the highway. Lilly tipped her head back and gave a mournful howl... her voice is much lower than Ranger's, and very staccato when she barks. I was able to catch her doing it.

And finally, spring is truly here. We had a farmer come to plow our garden, and we are eagerly deciding what to plant this year. Since Stepson will be playing baseball from now through July, I have once again taken over the gardening duties, and after the plot is tilled down this week, will get busy with my starts. I took some shots of the man as he plowed, and later, a flock of birds descended on the area to eat the worms turned up. I wish I could have let the chickens in the yard, but that would be fatal if the dogs got out of the house!
So now a new week has started, and a short one for me. A class on Thursday, and a vacation day Friday, will shorten it to 3 days. I am looking forward already to the long weekend, and scrapbooking with my friends on Saturday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quiet Sunday

The grands have gone home and we are alone here, as Brandon has gone on a three day mission trip for his youth group. The house is strangely silent with just the sound of the tv on low, and Hannah's low snoring at my feet. The sun has finally come out, and the birds are enjoying the day, running back and forth. The wildings are here too, and we put out plent for them before church this morning. On the pond at the foot of the road is a small flock of very small wild ducks. We can see black and white on the drakes, but can't identify them from the road. If we stop, they swim as a unit to the far side of the big pond, thought the cows and calves don't seem to bother them. The Goat Lady's guineas were marching down the road as I took the grands to meet their mom, so we stopped to watch them and listen to their unmusical calls!

Our Old Gentleman is sleeping out in the yard. We watched him yesterday as he went from yard to pasture, still looking and yearning for his friend Lacey, our hearts breaking for him. Maybe by tomorrow he will have accepted his lot and stop looking. We are hoping that the same Goat Lady with the guineas and peacocks will teach us about goats, and maybe sell us some wethers so that Beau will once again have someone to graze with and just stand with. We won't let too much time go by for his sake.

Back to the kitchen, as stepson took the freshly baked cookies, to bake more for the next few days.

A peaceful Sunday to all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Passing and a Promise of Spring

Yesterday our little horse, Cedar Hill Lacey, crossed the rainbow bridge and went home to sleep forever, free of pain.

We had watched her condition worsen over the last few weeks, until she could no longer move around freely, stopped eating much and drank very little. She was no longer able to walk out of the pen and into the pasture, or follow her Beau around as she used to. We had grown used to her being in the pen, and she, once the free spirit who hated being handled, had grown to acccept the daily medicine and handling that we had to do for her. Two weeks ago while medicating her one night she fell onto her side, and I saw real pain on her face for the first time. We saw that she was having increasing problems, and the vet was here four times in the last six weeks, checking her. We noticed that the medication did not appear to be working and finally, by Thursday, we knew that it had gone on long enough.

Husband loved her enough to help her through the ordeal, and our very kind veterinarian, Dr. Jeannie Hauser, was on hand to ease her passing. While getting her ready, they discovered a tumor that none of us had seen under her heavy Cushing's mane, and the doctor declared it was surely malignant, and the cause of the deterioration. It didn't help our pain, though, because we had grown accustomed to her fuzzy little face, and miss it so. Our Old Gentleman has called and called for his friend, and has gone from one side of the yard and one side of the pasture to the other, looking for her and whinnying. He looks at us and whinnies as if to say Where is my Friend? Can't you find her?

We hope he will settle down in a few days, and our hearts feel for him. We know Lacey's suffering is over and I will remember her standing in the sun on her last morning, and running free in the pasture when she came here, happy to be alive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My thanks for the new Background

My thanks to Mary at Isabella's Closet for the new background and banner! What a talented lady!

Goose eggs in the Grass

The bottom photo is of two goose eggs in the grass, and the top an assortment of duck and chicken eggs. As you can see, our girls give us all shades of brown and Buffy the Polish hen gives us a white egg. The two big white ones are from our duck girls. We have not brought a goose egg in yet, when I went back to see them on Sunday, they had disappeared, so something is getting into the pasture at night!
It got very cold again last night, and was 18 this morning. This up and down roller coaster is typical Kansas weather, though. We have reached Hump Day, and are coasting to the end of the week. Yours truly is taking a half day on Friday to drive the 65 miles to the small country town where my grandkids live, and bring them up for the weekend. Not having seen them since Christmas, I'm looking forward to spending some time with them. On Sunday after church they will be returned to their mom, who will come up halfway for them. We are going to do some yard work here, then go shopping and to dinner, and I can't WAIT!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Standing water... see the egg?

A Baptism and a Big Rain

Sunday, March 8, my stepson Brandon accepted the Lord as his Saviour in baptism at the age of 17. The family (mom and dad's sides) gathered at the church he and his dad attend to watch him be blessed in the Lord, then all gathered for tacos offered by the church youth group. It was a good start to a very rainy day, in which all the creeks/ponds around here filled up.

This followed a team loss at the sub-state basketball tournament on Saturday night, so all in all, it was a big weekend around Calamity Acres.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Revelation

Your blogger has been writing for weeks now about the special relationship between Beau the pony and Sammy the gander. Today, while doing chores outside and generally working in the 70+ degree temperature (remember a week ago today and the snow?) - she could not find her favorite gander. A call to the porch to husband produced a laugh and a bet that he could find him post haste. He strolled down off the porch and through the gate, and in the space of about 3 minutes, found the bird nestled in the tall grass. The other gander and three ducks were eating tender spring shoots, and the "missing" bird got up and honked and headed for the pond. Lo and behold, underneath "him" in a deep nest in the high grass were two huge goose eggs! It was an "AHA" moment!

When we first got the geese as babies, the lady who sold them told us it was impossible for her to identify sexes. We named them Samantha and Tabitha at that point, and called them by girl's names. We noticed that each, however, exhibited some guarding mannerisms that wild ganders exhibit, keeping an eye on the flock while they ate, etc. and we then came to think that both were ganders, or males. Now we are wondering if we have a male and female, since Timmy, the other gander, was leading the ducks around while we looked for Sammy er... Samantha!

We think she has gone back to her two eggs, and as there are storms expected tonight, we wonder how they will fare. We had decided to not have any babies this year... but of course, we cannot take the eggs from under our favorite and get rid of them. I am looking down into the pasture now, and see Timmy and the three duck girls, Martha, Mary and Maggie, and don't see Samantha anywhere, so perhaps she has gone back to the nest.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Isis Renewed

Isis, our lovely golden penciled Wyandotte hen, has recovered from what was ailing her. We credit warmth and quiet, as we kept her in the nursing cage for two weeks. Yesterday, with better weather coming, we put her back out with her sisters. I found her alone yesterday evening, walking around in the pasture and having a little extra food, unbothered by the rest of the flock. I am noting that she is still carrying herself oddly, so we shall see what happens.

The weatherman says 70 degrees today... a stark contrast to last Saturday when we awoke to four inches of snow. The snow is now mostly gone, and the animals are enjoying the finer weather, from chickens to dogs.

Keith pulled me outside last night to see the tiniest evidence of spring in one of the planters... hens and chicks coming up! Spring is almost here!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's Melting!

Well, despite the fact that we didn't get over 20 degrees today, the snow of yestermorn is beginning to melt a little. The outdoor animals had a hard day in the cold though, that was helped a little by the fact the sun shone. For the second day in a row, the chickens stayed in the chicken house, even with the pophole open, because they are smart birds and didn't see any reason to go out and troop through the snow. We loaded them up on feed and scratch and they did fine, to the tune of 8 eggs for us!

Even though it appears your blogger thinks only about her animals, it's not true. I have become a magazine addict, fueled by the fact that I work in the marketing department of an international corporation which advertises in many magazines. We get complimentary copies of most of those, and I have become a magazine hoarder. I force myself to recycle once a month, to try to keep the numbers down so that husband doesn't groan when I come in the door. I subscribe to a fair number, as well, and am lamenting the fact that two of my favorites, Mary Englebreit's Home Companion, and Country Home, have ceased to publish as of last month and this. They were little bits of beauty in this farm home which needs so much work done on it, and inspiration. The last issue of Country Home, in fact, was a very beautiful "keeper". As Susan Branch says on her website... what's next, Country Living? Say it ain't so!

I watched "Finding Neverland" last night after getting everything finished for the day. I am not a Johnny Depp fan, but I have always been a Peter Pan fan since a little child. I sobbed my way through the end of the movie, and then sat down after church this morning to find out the true facts of the J.M. Barrie/Peter Pan story. It was very interesting, and much literary license had been taken by the movie makers but in all, I think it was a good movie and made me appreciate Johnny Depp more than I ever have before. Would I go see his next movie? Ummmm no... but I might watch it on tv some Saturday night.

And what would ending the weekend be without more Pony/Gander pictures?

Sunny Sunday

Well, well, well! We have had another Kansas joke played on us and it is sunny again today!

Compared to yesterday morning's unrelenting snow, it's a blessing. Up early to carry water and feed the outside animals, I hurried through chores to be on time for church at 8. I love coming home and being quiet on Sunday morning while husband and stepson are at church themselves, giving me time to catch up on other blogs, look at recipes, look at scrapbooking supplies, and just have peaceful time. I have to pay for my day of relaxation with my scrapbooking friends yesterday and go to the grocery store today, but it's worth it! Then home to fix meatloaf for Sunday dinner, with some mashed potatos and vegetables for a good, hot meal.

Of course, I forgot to mention it's still COLD!