Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Lovely Story

Okay, I was going to embed this video, but, frankly, I don't think I know HOW!

Here is the link to it, if I can't get it to embed. 

 It is about a 3 minute video with a remarkable story about a goose who has befriended a retired man in Los Angeles.  It is truly incredible. 

The thing is, Keith and I have seen this same thing happen here at Calamity Acres, so believe every bit of it. 

Here are some pictures that show the partnership we had here between pony and goose about five years ago... the pony is Beau, and the goose, Samantha. 

That was our tiny little pond that was filled in two years ago. 

She would groom him constantly when he stopped, whether eating or just laying in the pasture. 

Somewhere I have a picture of her picking straw from his mane while he was taking a siesta one day. 

They even ate together. 

Beau was about 32 in this picture. 

Sadly, we lost Samantha and her companion Tim to a predator.  Tim went first, then Samantha bonded with Beau.  I noticed Samantha walking oddly one morning, but over the course of the next few days, she valiantly followed her Beau around.  Then I found her dead one morning, picked her up to look at her more closely, and found she had been injured under her wing and it had become infected... I could not see the injury from the outside of her.  It was very sad to lose her, and we had marveled for weeks at this friendship. 

I hope you have time to watch the short film above.. it is truly worth it.  Animals are amazing! 

That's it for today from the snowbound Calamity Acres, where Mary Ann cannot get up her own driveway because it is such a mess! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Storm Follow Up

Just one more day of pictures of what we're dealing with here.  

If I can get something to embed in here, I'll  have a nice and cheerful post for you tomorrow! 

I spent an hour digging out the car and the truck.  Keith's work truck, the State Tahoe, has 4 wheel drive, and he was able to zip right out of here to work.  He was also happy to report to me that the streams are running with lots of water between here and KCK, where his office is. 

That was very good news. 

It's 38 degrees out right now, and our drive is a mess... I mean, a real mess. This is looking down the 100 yard drive towards the parking area.  

I have a Chevy HHR, and it is NOT a snow car, though it has many good points.  It sits very low to the ground, though, and drags in the snow.  

Keith agreed with me, that I am house bound for a few more days. 

This pretty girl waited for me.  She is almost nine now, and the spring is leveling out in her step... she hates the ice forming on her, and as you see, had plenty of ice and snow packed in her fur.  

This oh-so-nice picture at Command Central shows you how very tired we all are after the last two days.  
I'm so glad for the moisture, the weather man says we are almost up to where we needed to be... so good news for farmers and farm ponds... but whew... I'm pooped out trudging through it, and it shows in my face. 

That's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Doesn't YOUR furnace man do your driveway? 

Early this afternoon, snow fell from the maple tree over the deck and landed on a female junco, a tiny little bird.  As I opened the door, all the other birds flew off, but the little junco stayed here, hunched over.  
(The snow was melting). 
I picked her up and carried her in, and we took her in the bedroom.  Keith went out and found a little cage that some chickens had come in, brought it in, and we folded a rug and put it in it, and put her in.  She promptly flew out and loose in the bedroom.  We gave her time to calm down, and Keith, God bless him, managed to move the furniture she had flown behind, open a window... and reach over and lift her gently outside.  He opened his hand, and she flew away.  

Thank heavens he took the shadecloth down, this snow was much heavier than last week's, and would have torn it, we think.  The hens in this house had clear ground until this morning. 

I don't know if you can see them, but where the blue bucket is, I have dug a trail to the old henhouse, and to the right, to the henspa, so that this girl can do her chores.

 I have never in my life had such a plucky little dog.  

The snow stopped around 2, and there was some melting happening, as it got up above 32.  I actually went out and opened the pophole in the henspa, but the hens took one look (even after I shoveled their deck) and decided that the deep snow (see picture above) and the hanging shadecloth was not for them. 

Right now, at 5:43, the second wave of snow (another 1 to 2 inches) is coming down.  We are hoping that's all we're to get out of this round of storms, that featured lightening this morning for an hour. 

I'm tired.  

I have one more thing to do.. .put some feed out for the fox... and then I'm in PJs for the rest of the night! 

That's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Here it Comes and There it Went

Some of you may have wondered about the shadecloth over the henspa yard with the heavy snow last week. 

Yes, that's the shadecloth on Friday, over the middle span of the henyard.  Notice the span on the right is also very full.  I stopped Keith as he was planning to put crosswise supports up in the middle... because we had to move birds fast in November.  As you can see, the supports were needed.  
Oh, stupid me. 

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon: 

Quite a bit of snow came out of it... this is not a great picture.  We left it unhooked and down for the next storm, but only two small holes were torn in it where it rested on the pole tops.  In the spring, we'll take it partially down again, and Keith will finish building the framework the way he wanted it. 
Mea culpa, Honey. 

We had a glorious morning this morning..., and that was all we saw of the sun all day. 

And it melted so much yesterday and today (under leaden skies) that I could see the garden beds again, and the tops of our greenhouse panels.  

In late afternoon, we had a dusting of snow and it blew very hard, but right now, at 9:21, there is just a little precip falling, and if our computer is right, it's 37 degrees out, actually warmer than it has been all day. 

This girl was here early this morning and yes, found the food I had left for her.  She had not come up for the last four nights.  No coyotes came behind her. 

I left another bowl of food tonight, because if it really DOES get as terrible as they have predicted, the wildings won't be able to get up the pasture again. 

I've ordered Tylan for our big tom turkey, Jackson, who is still sneezing.  Now two roosters from the henspa have begun sneezing.  I think it is the stress of the weather and being locked up off and on the last few days... the Tylan was shipped today, but may be held up for a day or so with the weather.  I'm eager to get it started.

 That's it for today from Calamity Acres!   . 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Results of the Experiment and More

A week or so ago, I wrote about a post I had seen on Community Chickens about fermenting feed for the chickens.  

I am not sure I did it right... I got some mold on the very top, instead of a "mother" coating. 

Here it is the first day... I mixed 20% layer pellets, cracked corn, some canned corn (cheap) and bird seed together with water and cider vinegar.  

I covered it and let it sit.  I did stir it several times.  

It did begin to smell, but not badly. 

Here it was Friday: 

You see there are little bits of mold on top.  I scraped all this off, I was not sure about it.  However, I am going to send this picture to the lady who wrote the article to ask some questions.  The top looks dry, doesn't it? 

However, here is the gruel that was IN the bucket. 


There was chaos in the henspa.   I had to put it in several different locations. 

Including on top of the nest box.  See little Suzy, my old English hen with her bottom towards you?  She is not doing very well lately, and I am not sure how old she really is, she was an auction buy.  She appears to be failing, maybe just due to old age, but she cannot hold her own against the big hens anymore, and is living up top with Folly and Fancy.  Folly will at least go down on the floor sometimes, but Fancy is the King of the Nest Box. 

The old henhouse crowd got some gruel, too... the turkeys liked it... the hens mostly liked it... but the rafter dwellers there did not.... the littlest hens and roosters.  They have been staying up top while the weather was bad the last few days. 

I'll get some advice about it, and do it again.  The second batch will probably not have as much in the bucket, so it can stay covered with water.  

There's the last of it on the bird station today... I figure the wild birds will clean it up.  It was in a fortex, and froze overnight and stayed frozen yesterday, so I put it out for them.  

So look here... how much melted this afternoon, when it got up to 47!  In fact, the big flocks moved off for the last few hours, and the little birds are able to eat.  The deck has hardly been visited, and we can see the garden beds again! 


And Abby were able to get around in the snow today, not just because of the melting but because the hard crust had melted, and they could make their ways around without hurting.  Abby wore herself out, thank heavens! 

And lastly...

 Uniform du Jour this week and next! 

This handsome guy has about worn himself out this week helping with chores around here... and now we shall see what is coming in the next two days. 

Stay safe, everyone.. (Melinda and Ken (Country Dreaming) ; J and S at Cranky Puppy)

And guess what?  I just remembered I have a "snow" setting on my camera... I'll use it the next few days and the pictures won't be so hard to look at! 

That's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Round Two About to Descend

Well... the sprinkling of snow we were told we were going to get on Monday has now turned into another full-blown winter storm, with 6 to 10 more inches predicted.  Yes, I have talked to Troy-Next-Door to have him contact the gentleman to re-do our drive on Wednesday sometime, as it is supposed to run Monday noon to Tuesday noonish.  

We are grateful for the moisture, we needed it so badly... but it IS hard to trudge around in it.  We had a good discussion today, and we may phase the old henhouse out as we lose birds over the next year.  It would be so much easier to use just the new henhouse, and reduce numbers.  However, it would also give us a chance to clean and re-do the old henhouse, and then the turkeys could take it over.  Something to think about, anyway. 

The tomato bisque last night was a made-from-scratch thrown together from what we have in the pantry, but I try to keep things on hand that I can use to throw things together.  Keith asked to eat lightly tonight, and I fixed him a cheeseburger... he couldn't even finish that.  It's out in the pasture with other scraps, but we have not seen hide nor hair of the vixen or a coyote in the last three nights.  I know they are having terrible trouble getting around.  I did see a dead coyote by the side of the road today on my way to church... it was not there this morning when I delivered the eggs to the food pantry.  It hurts me to see them. 

The horses around the corner that I always felt so sorry for are gone now.  The man ran an ad on Craigslist last weekend, and on Sunday, after taking Nathan home, I saw them being loaded into a trailer.  At least, I saw the brown filly... and hoped the other two were loaded.  I prayed that they were not going to a killer buyer... oh yes, they are still out there.  It wouldn't be so bad if they would be going to a humane slaughter, but we are in the heart of America, and Mexican abbatoirs are notoriously cruel.  I might be silly to pray for animals, but I do... and pray that those three found a good home with someone who would take care of them. 

Our old man Ranger has had a very good last six weeks.  At one point, we thought we were going to lose him, but even though he is limping around badly, he has had more good days than bad.  In fact, I am only giving him his Tramadol once a day now, and he has been going outside quite a bit, even if it's just to lay on the porch.  Today, though, after church, I locked up, and he followed me out through the snow and wandered around a little.  I am so glad for him... I hope this keeps up for a while longer.  He's so gray now, but he was our black and silver beauty when young. 

Lilly does not let anything stop her... here she was listening to the Spehar's dog barking... and was getting agitated.  She watched something tonight in the pasture, as well... and I could not see it. 

I have put food out the last few nights, knowing the storm was coming, and after it started.  I have seen NO sign of fox or coyote.  I have seen this several times: 

That's a big crow.  He took care of the food. 

The camera fell backwards on the deck this morning... and look what it captured.  Beautiful, glorious blue skies... and lots of starlings and redwings waiting to eat.  Keith stocked up again today on more feed... we are prepared for the coming week. Please note the buds on the maple tree!  26 days until spring! 

That's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's All in the Perspective

Shots from around the place the day after the Big Storm of 2013: 

Ooops this was last night, after my last trip out (obsessively) to check on the chickens AGAIN.  See the light next door?  Troy had just told me he would put the blade on his tractor and plow our drive... I was running in to tell Keith. 

Ridiculous, isn't it?  Biggify it and you will see that it's not all starlings... about half of them are red-winged blackbirds... who are as bewildered as everything else. 

 It IS pretty. 

And we were blessed by God to get our drive plowed, as we have had to dig it out many times in past years.  Abby couldn't wait to run up the drive, she can't get into the yard right now, the snow is too high. 

Ranger appreciated it, too, as it is too much for his poor behind legs. 

Troy's tractor would not start, but he checked with a friend who came over at 7:30 this morning and did it for 50.00, the best 50.00 we spent this month! 

Dinner tonight, homemade tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwich for Keith, bisque for me.  I can't wait. 

But here's someone whose take on the snow is totally different and one of delight! 

Here's grandson Jace and his dog Rocky, playing in the snow yesterday!  He doesn't remember snow from last year, when he was just a few months old, so this is a big adventure!  It was so cute to see him in his Carhartts and his trapper cap, all bundled up, enjoying the snow! 

That's it for today from Calamity Acres! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

White Out!


I got up at 4, no snow. 

Keith got up at 5:30 AM to let Abby out for a moment.... no snow. 

This girl was around earlier...

No snow. 

This morning: 

Abby very bravely did chores with me first thing, but then came in. 

Lilly is glad to be in, too... her big paws pick up frostballs and hurt her

See the ice on the bowl?  It's 1:40 and I've redone it four times already. 

The starlings are desperate. 

Our birds are all in and on top of each other for the day. 
At least they are warm and dry and have water. 

This was a blessing from God... the snow blew just right so I could open the gate into the henyard without shoveling.  I had to take care of the five little roosters in the little henhouse.  Oh, how I wish I could integrate them so I could close it up. 

It did not stack behind the big henhouse, either... just the way the wind is blowing... so I put a fortex of feed and some water back there (just out of sight) for the wild birds. 
I won't replenish that until tomorrow... too hard! 

The little roosters have feed and water for the night. 

Poor little robin! 

That's it for a snowy Thursday from Calamity Acres!