Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful

There are so many things I have to be thankful for, I don't even know where to start. 

These human ones that we have just gotten to know in the last few years. 

For our continued health
(great photobomb, Abs) 

For the opportunity to bring a new animal into our lives that has given us so much happiness and cheer in this sad year.... thank you, Michaele, Rickee and Riley... we appreciated your kindness so much...

For all the animals here who keep me in such good health by caring for them daily... my thanks....

For good friends, you know who you are.... Deb, Georgie, Jill....all the others unnamed... for cousins.... who keep me going daily....

For those who won't be around the Thanksgiving table to celebrate with us this year.... Brandon in happier times with Grandma Trudy... we miss you from our hearts and you will be with us in our prayers today. 

And those whose faces around our feet will be missing today, we will think of you in happier times and know you are running free again. 

Keith and I love all of your comments and we appreciate all of you so much....
blogging has brought great joy into our lives, and you are part of our human families, and your pets part of our fur families.... we hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, (and a blessed Hanukkah, if you are celebrating it) and a good start to the coming holiday season. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Very Short Post Today

I guess I'm having a Blogger issue this morning, as it will not accept any picture to show you. 

I'll try to do it again a little later. 

It has begun to blow outside, and though we got up to 
42 yesterday, I believe we are stuck at 37 or less for today. 

Too early in winter for me! 

I'll try to post again this afternoon. 

It's 3:30, and blowing outside (again). 

I'm going to try to post again. 

Bam Bam (Delilah) heard us talking in the kitchen, and let us know she thought it was time for treats this afternoon.  (Bam, Bam, Bam!) 

I actually went out shortly thereafter, because when Ranger and Lilly are out, the goats don't let them near the door to come in.  Ranger especially can't get away from them when they menace him. 

The ducks bellied up to the bar again as soon as I put water in the pool this afternoon.  The temp stands at 40 right now, and the hoses got going slowly.  I'll unhook everything upon finishing chores, of course... because we are told it is going down to single digits tonight.  

My good morning gift this morning!

Angus McConnell is giving us very good advice here. 

Be thankful, all of you, my friends. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Frigid Weekend and a Short Rant

And on top of it, the Chiefs lost.... again. 

It was very cold here this weekend, and frankly, Keith and I have already had enough of it. 
We kept the dogs in most of the weekend, and the goats had shortened hours out of their pen. 
I was busy doing water up to five times a day, trying to keep open water in front of everyone. 
The only place that seemed to do well was the deck, where the dog waterer took care of the wild birds. 

I did water at least four times yesterday during the day.  The pool was frozen, of course.  
I had not emptied it before we had the hard freeze the other night. 

I kept the fortex filled for the ducks. 

You see all the ice that I have been breaking out of the waterers? 

I dump the water in the old henhouse now nightly.. if we are going to go below 32.  I have so little power in there now that I can't run a heater base for either of the waterers. 

Keith says we will tear into the henhouse and repair everything if we are ever out of birds there. 
We can't move those 8 roosters in with the other roosters of the henspa, though. 

You see how bleak and cloudy it was this weekend. 

Except for right around the time Winnie decided to climb Mount Chevrolet again. 

This is Mary, an elderly chicken I thought would not be with us long clear back in August.  She was clearly bothered by the cold, and all puffed up, to keep herself warm. 
She is standing in front of the duck house, in the old henyard. 

And this was Mary, about 30 minutes later.  I was able to get one socket to work, and hooked up a warming light in it for Butch, my pet rooster.  
I  put Mary in there to keep him company, because she had looked so cold all day.  What did Butch do? 
As I left the door between the two sides open for a minute... he voted with his feet and ran over and hopped up on the roost with the other birds, so Mary got to soak up all the heat. 

So here is what I found in the back of the duck house this morning.  There were actually 19 eggs.  I wondered where two of the ducks had been laying in the last two weeks.  They had drawn a lip of straw up so that I could NOT see these eggs at all.  I felt back there with a rake this morning and started pulling them out.  Yes, they all broke, but I intended for them to. 

I'm going to re-bed the house, and see if they want to keep laying in there. 

It has gone up to 42 this afternoon, and you see I was able to get the ice out of the pool.  I also connected the hose and refilled it, and the ducks were overjoyed. 

(Donald being overjoyed) 

Here I am with Abby and Lilly last night, watching Denver and San Diego, and I bet I look tired in this picture, as I had carried buckets all weekend. 

I was ready to curl up on Abby's pillow and go to sleep with her, believe me. 

Your hair gets flat when you have to jam a knit cap down on it so you don't freeze in the 18 degree temps. 

So, here's my little rant. 

Last night, I ran to the grocery store in Tongie just at dark.  When I came out, I saw a sign on a car in the parking lot, and realized the car was running.  I'm nosy.  I went over to read it, and realized a lady was sitting in it. 
She had a sign that said "Free Puppies".  
I looked in her back seat, and there were four sleeping puppies, BIG... about 3 months old, past the "cute puppy stage".  She said their mother was a husky and they looked to be husky/shepherd... very attractive dogs and a good mix, but .... 

I asked her what she would do if no one wanted them and she smiled at me and didn't answer. 
I said "You aren't going to dump them, are you?  It's cold out and they would die quickly".  
She just smiled again. 

I asked her to please call Leavenworth County Humane Society before doing that, and they would put them in foster care and find homes for them. 

She only smiled at me. 

I did not recognize her from the store, church, etc.. 

I told Keith when I got home, and he assumed I had a puppy or two in the car as I told him, but I did not. 

My rant is... these puppies will be living rough out here before we know it (if they weren't dumped last night) because everyone knows that if you dump a dog in the country, someone will take it in. 
Not true.  They are shot, many times. 

My heart went out to the beautiful sleeping puppies. 

Finally, the lady told me she would "try again next week" if she couldn't give them away. 

My gosh. 

Friends.  Don't let your pets breed indiscriminately! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Straw Bale Gardening

Why, you ask... would I be
 talking about gardening here at the END of the gardening season, and on a day when it is 18 degrees outside with only watery sunshine? 

Well... we like to make our plans early, we gardeners. 

For many years, I worked shows in a ticket booth downtown, and one of the things I liked to do after the first of the year was go through my seed catalogs in the lulls between waves of people attending the Boat Show, the Garden Show, etc.. 

Some of you may remember that I won an Apple I Pad about a year ago, from an online contest. 

I did not know how to use it, and it sat until someone explained it to me. 
When I got it going, I downloaded something called 
Kindle for Ipad. 

It is just like the Kindle that is sold, only on my tablet. 

One of the books I have bought and read is called 

Straw Bale Gardening, by Joel Karsten. 

Folks, I'm sold.  You see... I can understand how it is possible. 

These are the top two bales of the straw fort I made to protect the ducks, who actually sleep in a bed of wet hay and leaves about ten feet away.  

You see the grass sprouting from them in the last two weeks? 

Well, this article HERE will explain how Mr. Karsten came up with his idea to first make the bales ready, and then to plant in them.  It is not as simple as dumping planting medium or chicken house cleanings on top. 

If they are prepared carefully, and put within a framework that holds the decomposing bales together (which I plan to do).... they can bear wonderfully.  

I follow Mr. Karsten on Facebook as well. 

Does this mean I am going to forego planting in my raised beds next season?  NO!  
I am actually going to run them side by side.  I love to experiment and compare different ways of planting, and I intend to condition these bales to get optimum production.  

You see in the above picture that Mr. Karsten provides a framework for the bales many times, not just to hold the decomposing straw in, but for the plants on the bales.  I want to try both vegetables and flowers, to see what I get from them.  Then the decomposed straw will be used on the planting beds when finished for the season, so it's a win-win all around.  It's so interesting on Facebook to read the accounts of those who have tried it and loved it, and tried it and failed... I learn something from all of them. 
One nursery has actually purchased 1000 bales of straw and is now conditioning them for the next growing season in their greenhouses! 

I'm thinking of using six bales as a starting point, and running an experiment on them this coming gardening season. 

I have already received Pinetree Garden's Catalog in the mail... I have never bought from them, but had heard of them.  I hope to get a spate of catalogs around the holiday season, and will curl up with them and get my orders ready.  We still don't have our greenhouse up, but we are going to use the hoophouse again next year, so I'll have ample things with which to experiment.  It makes gardening so much more fun! 

Is anyone else planning your garden for 2014 yet? 

(and thanks to those who gave us advice for Delilah, who is a little calmer this morning. She has exhibited heat symptoms since coming here five weeks ago... we sure wish she would come out of it!) 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Goat Problem

This would be Delilah. 
SHE is the Problem. 

She is dogging the baby again. 

I'll spare you the view of her mounting. 
Goat friends, this is accompanied by her tongue dangling, and constant grunting a particular sequence over and over.  I'm afraid she'll hurt the baby, she is so much heavier.  The baby has taken to hiding under the feeder in the goat pen to get some rest. 
Tonight we are to go down to 7 degrees... very, very cold for this early in the season... and I want all of the goats to get some rest and be warm. I'll put Dee in the feed room with Butch if I have to. 


Yesterday's fiasco... I had a sack of cat litter out on the porch for use on ice. 
Kelly is pictured here, but I think it was Delilah that did it.  I haven't even found the sack yet!

Again, the goats will be in the pasture permanently, as soon as the babies can't fit through the gate opening into the chickenyard.  I hope that's soon. 

The pump at the henspa was frozen this morning.  It was frozen last night, too... I had to pour some hot water on it.  I'll dry it off today as much as I can so I don't have to take hot water out in the morning. 

A lot of the chickens were glad to stay inside.  This is the heated waterer in the henspa... there is none in the old henhouse.   I have to dump the water in there out overnight, so that I can refill them with warm water in the morning.  I may go ahead and get another heater base next week for that side. 

 The ducks are so grateful for fresh water this time of year. 

Because their pool is ice and slush, unusable. 

The sun is out today, but it is only 27 degrees out.  

The henspa hens and Ferdy don't care, they just want to get out for their hour every evening. 

We even had two big visitors this morning, the other was just out of camera view. 

And Michelle McMillen at Boulderneigh... this one's for you! 
I thought these "sheep hues" reminded me so very much of your beautiful Shetlands! 

These are from Design Seeds, whom I follow on Facebook. 

Stay warm tonight, everyone!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Night at the Concert

Okay, I have to admit to you here that I am a died-in-the-wool Beatlemaniac, 
fifty years later. 

Fifty years. 

It just doesn't seem possible. 

I layed on the floor in my parents house, in the dining room, where our "Hi-Fi" sat on the floor, and listened to the music turned very low, so it wouldn't disturb my mother watching tv in the living room. 

I had to buy the albums with whatever money I could earn, and oh, my, I did any extra chores that would make me a little money, and used all my allowance.  I had to walk about three miles to the Katz drugstore that sold the albums to get them, but how glad I was.

Last night, my friend Jill and I drove to Topeka in driving rain to see 
Rain, the Beatles Tribute. 

I had lucked out and got good seats again, seven rows back. 

The Topeka Performing Arts Center is a beautiful venue. 

We drove in driving rain and falling temps... and wind.  It was very chilly walking the one block to the door... and we were suprized to find the Westboro Baptist Church picketing the concert.  I felt so sorry for the children among the picketers, brought up in hate, and out there in the blowing cold for something so silly. 
Keith and I pray that this hate-filled group will someday come to their senses and just go away quietly. 

While visual cues can suggest John, Paul, George and Ringo... the actors playing them do try to get as close as they can.  This "John" had a great voice, and sang his leads with gusto, and they were all good musicians, and were supplemented by a synthesizer keyboardist who did all the special sounds.  
This was my second chance in as many months to go back in time and relive that girlhood happiness. 
The camera/phone police were on duty, however, and it was only at the end of the concert that I was able to get a couple of shots to show you.  

When we came out of the concert, everything had iced over.  Jill had to scrape the Suburban, and we waited for it to warm up.  We headed down the big boulevard to cross over the Kansas River to go home... and the bridge was CLOSED.  We detoured four blocks to another bridge, got on it, and discovered black ice.  Jill skillfully drove to the center lane, and we crossed that bridge at five miles an hour.  We were lucky to follow two snowplows partway home, which we drove about 40 miles an hour.  (I was praying all the way and kept reminding Jill to "Slow Down".... I'm sure she wanted to throw me out the window). 

We made it to Tongie, and then poor Jill had to drive another 30 miles home to Overland Park.  She texted me at midnight to tell me she had just pulled in. 

Keith and I talked until 1 and then I got up and ate some cereal, as I had not kept anything down yesterday... so it was a short night for me. 

Very cold (29) and icy this morning, and I carried warm water.  I'm going out in a minute with more warm water to check everyone's watering bowls and make sure they are still good. 

Keeping the Hooligans, and Delilah in today, with lots of good brome hay to much on. 

Staying safe and careful on the frozen deck and stairs. 

Remember what else happened fifty years ago today, when a nation's innocence was stolen, and several good men lost their lives.... and so many lives were changed forever. 

Prayers to their surviving families, and for our great nation.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Random Shot Thursday

An early post today, as I have plans for this evening if the weather holds. 
I have tickets for a touring Broadway show in Topeka, about 50 miles from us.  A friend is supposed to go, but we already have rain coming down, and we are expecting later tonight a change-over to snow, so we are playing this by ear. 

I would hate to lose those tickets, but we won't go if the weather is very bad. 
(Update... my friend has written to say that we'll go in her heavier vehicle, a Suburban, and she'll drive, so we're set to go, yee ha!)
I'll tell you about the show tomorrow. 

Gratuitous goat cuteness, Winnie, making up for jumping on Maa Maa's car. 

The henspa flock is still working on turning over my raised beds.  I'll be gardening in these again next year, and for the first time, I kept a notebook to remind me what was planted where.... and will rotate everything.  I still need to do some maintenance on these beds, as you see... pull the pumpkin vines out of the top one... and then put compost on all of them. The straw bale garden will be alongside this one. 

Oh, I am so proud of this, but I am going to have to move the yarrow next to it, and I planted it way too close to the fence. 

It is a white lilac that Kathy next door gave me three years ago.  It was a tiny little plant.  
It is going to grow and bloom before I die... I'm so glad!

I hope whoever lives here in years to come enjoys this plant as much as I am going to! 

Gratuitous pug cuteness, courtesy of Abby Lynn. 

This is what the fortexes in the big henyard look like in the morning, after a night with the ducks.  
These are the things that are hard to clean out once the hoses stop running... maybe even tonight.  
It makes hauling water the harder, because I can't carry full buckets anymore. So I haul a half bucket to clean out the fortex... and a 3/4 bucket to fill it to the brim when clean. 

So much easier when the hoses are running. 

Filling this is also much easier when the hoses are running, though I did fill it once by bucket last week while waiting for the new yard hydrant to be put in. 

This morning's fill may be the last for a few days.  Once it truly does get lasting cold, I'll put this up, and we'll use a double deep fortex for the ducks.  There is one in the pasture, and I'll put another in the henyard, and fill them for the duck's winter use. 

And speaking of the ducks, only two are laying now, and I found this egg in Fort Apache, under the little red hen house, this morning. 

This one was out in the open! 

I thought you might all be interested in seeing what I feed the wild birds daily. 

This is "Back Yard Blend" from our feed store where I have bought feed for 20 some years, Valley Feeds in Bonner Springs, Kansas.  They mix this blend.  They also mix a more expensive one... about five dollars more a bag, and a cheaper one, similar to the Pennington mixes. 

As you see, this one has peanut halves, safflower, milo, cracked corn, striped sunflower and some black oil sunflower.  It's a great mix, and the wildings love it.  I already have moved the dog's water fortex onto the middle of the deck where the sun can warm it, and they are coming to it for water now... and I am seeing more birds at the flat feeding station.  I have seen the Northern Flicker twice in the last week at the suet feeder. 

(Reddy, in toto.  Notice the white tail) 

Today on Facebook I saw a great post about how chickens see... if you have time, please glance at it.  I learned so much from it, and things I did not know about chickens despite keeping them for so many years. 

It's HERE , presented by Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily, but actually was written, I think, by another blogger. 

Excellent article!  Lisa's blog is also a very good one, if you are not familiar with it. 

And lastly... it's World Hello Day... thanks, MA!  

Say hello to all your friends and loved ones with a smile on your face, 
and remember to carry some one dollar bills and a smile for the hard-working Salvation Army bellringers who will be out in the cold and rain and snow of the next five weeks on their annual 
fund raising mission!