Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Very Clean and Happy Mattie

Two Shots of the Good Ship Toulouse

Yes, She DOES get Under the Pony!

Besides walking back and forth under Beau's belly,
Sammy also grooms his mane for him!

A Beautiful Goose

Okay, I'm prejudiced. Samantha came here as a
tiny gosling with Timmy, and we raised them. Sammy
hurt her head and we thought we had lost her at one point,
but she has grown to be a healthy goose with a penchant for
a pony!

A Little Hen on Too Many Eggs

Dovey has so many eggs under her now, she can't
cover them all. Tomorrow, we'll mark them, and put
a few under Nanny, who is sitting in the closet close
by. The big hens push her out of the box during the day
but it gives her a chance to eat and drink. We are going
to let her raise any chicks who survive.

A Nest of Eggs in the Grass

Here are Samantha's eggs in her nest, with the
grass pulled back. I am guessing she is just about
ready to set the eggs, since she has pulled back the
protective covering of grass. The newest egg is
on the left, can you find it?

Tony is Curious

Happy Ducks

The Goose Found her Pony

Since the advent of the llamas, Beau has spent almost all his time in the yard, except for one night. This evening, as I was doing chores, I noticed he had come over near where I was cleaning out a water fortex at the top of the pasture. Sure enough, when I opened the gate, he came right on into the pasture. His goose, Samantha, was so glad to see him she stopped what she was doing and went to him, following him around. He checked out the pond, where the ducks were happily swimming and diving, and checked out the new geese, who promptly honked at him. Mama and Tony were laying down at the bottom of the pasture, and used to horses, didn't bother to get up. I sat down by the pond a long time, watching the happy ducks, and letting the new birds get used to me. Frogs were croaking merrily and over us wafted a huge hawk, but he passed on to the south, away from the Little Bunch who was still out in the henyard. Now Beau is following the llamas around, and I hope is taking a little comfort in once again having some hoofed companions. Well, sort-of-hoofed.

I noticed as I sat down by the pond that the grass is quite short at the top of the pasture, thanks to the llamas and geese... so my plan is working already.

Maybe spring really is on the way, it's 67 out, and no more rain predicted before the weekend.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Quiet Weekend

Five days have gone by since we got the newest members of our family, Mama and Tony and the geese. Two days after their arrival, Stepson was leaving for school in the morning. He went out the door, then came back in to look at his dad. "When did we get LLAMAS???" was the question. Once baseball season starts, real life is over!!!!

The llamas appear to have settled in nicely, though we have not exactly laid hands on them yet. I am able to get them to come to me with a bucket of feed, but have not touched them. Today was the closest, within a few feet, but I watch the ears switching back and forth. Like a horse, the llama shows it's concern and interest with it's ears. I am not afraid of being spat upon, as that is mostly reserved for other llamas, but I would just as soon not tempt Mama. She appears to like the feed we got her, and also to like the chicken feed! I went down to the pasture this afternoon to discover that the goose feeder was empty... and as soon as I filled it, the geese tucked in. The two groups, new and old, slept peacefully by the pond in the sun this afternoon.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, but rain and cold is expected here the next two days. Friday was also rainy, and poor Beau stood, soaked, in front of the porch. He did go into the pasture that night, but soon requested coming back into the yard. We are happy to oblige the Old Gentleman, as he seems more comfortable with us now that little Lacey is gone. He likes to stand in the corner under the mulberry trees, and I notice that he is sleeping more and more. I mentioned it to husband, who shook his head and said "He's so old". We have begun to wonder if we won't find him some morning, before summer comes, having gone to sleep for the night and for the last time. For now he is still eating his senior feed, and drinking, and pooping, so we know it is not time. Tomorrow I'll move his feed and water bowls into the makeshift stall in front of the chicken house, so he can get some shelter from the storms that are affected.

We are having dinner here tomorrow. I cleaned house this afternoon, after delivering Easter baskets to the grandkids. Easter is not a gift-giving occaision here, but I collected nice baskets from thrift stores in the last few months, and filled them with grass and candies. I dyed eggs last year, but did not do it this year, time got away from me. After a short time with the grandkids, I moved on to the hairdresser for my coloring and then to Wal-Mart for a sifter for the cake flour, having mislaid my old one. This will be our menu: Ham, our "own" potato casserole, which is made with potatos, onions and cheese, green beans cooked very slow with bacon and onion, rolls, a salad brought by my sister in law, and pound cake for dessert. Very simple and good, easy to make and easy to clean up. I bought new napkins today and set the sideboard up with an Easter theme, stuffed papers into drawers, and cleaned floors. In the morning I'll vacuum after church, and then start baking. The ham need only be warmed, thank heavens, it is spiral sliced and pre-cooked. I intended to make the cakes today, but there is just so much to do at this time of year that I ran out of time again, and sit here, tonight, blogging when I should be in bed sleeping.

Happy and Blessed Easter to all!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hey! Scat! Don't go near MY DUCKS!!!!

Is Samantha following them, or is she CHASING THEM OUT!!!

Four Big Gray Geese - and they can FLY

HEY! That's MY corral! What's he doingggggggg

HEY, what the heck is he DOING in there!!!!!

Hey, what the heck are THOSE????

I'm not coming any closer, uh uh!

Tony and Mama

Here you can see how small he is next to her, but he is a year old. Time to think about Tony becoming a .... gelding!

Mama Llama

Notice that Rosey, my pet, is not afraid of this big creature. Notice also that Mama is helping herself to CHICKEN FEED

Tony Llama

Llama Llama Ding Dong

Today, we have more creatures who have come to live at Calamity Acres. Beau didn't quite know what to make of his new pasture mates... and promptly wanted NOT to be in the pasture. He ran back and forth across the yard several times and then stood and stared! What WERE those thing?

3 new geese became four magically, and what appears to be Toulouse geese barreled out of their crate and into the pasture. Our goose and ducks didn't quite know what to think... who ARE those guys? After an hour of doing chores, I saw Lilly Ann skulking in the yard, and thought "Uh oh". I ran out there, and what a test of her obediance... not one but two of the new geese were in the yard. Uh OH, they must be able to fly a short distance as the fence is five feet high there. Forewarned is forearmed, and we will take measures to keep them in, whether it is cutting their flight feathers or keeping the dogs up when we are gone. I wouldn't want to push Lil too far!

I'll explain with pictures!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A 6th Anniversary

Today we celebrated our 6th anniversary. Our marriage occurred while Keith was still on active duty, in his small church in Texas. Some of our relatives were able to come down and join us on that happy day. In the evening, we took Brandon and Chris, my oldest grandson, to play miniature golf, and we jokingly thought of doing it again today. Since it was blustery and cold, we decided to opt for lunch inside at Granite City Brewery instead.
We had a peaceful afternoon after the grands went home, starting with lunch, followed by a nap. Doing chores in the evening bluster together was nice.

Six years ago, we had no idea we would be settled on our own little piece of paradise. We are truly blessed, living within our means, happy with our animal friends and delighted at Brandon's progress in life. I only hope all our friends are as lucky as we!

The Lost Weekend

Where do the weekends go?

Yesterday I wrote about making fence, but the supplies are laying there at the gate to the pasture in the cold and wet. It was just too blustery cold for the menfolks to build fence yesterday.

I guess we have one more day of this winter like weather, and then it will ease up (again). Something is banging outside to the east of the house, and I am almost afraid to look... the wind has been fierce and many old branches have come down out of the maple tree near the house. Beau was standing near the porch eating a little earlier, and when I looked out a few minutes later, a very large branch was down and shattered right on his bowl. I ran out the door to make sure he was allright, and found him on the north side of the house grazing. Whew!

We went to lunch for a Sunday afternoon treat, and came home to find all the new birds taking shelter in the lee of the big henhouse in the henyard. The Little Bunch was all out as well, and I told Husband only the big girls had the sense to stay in. Upon going into the henhouse, I discovered THEY were all out as well, and as I sit here and type this, I see red, brown, black and white tails running through the grass outside the horsepen. Even the 38 degree temps and bluster isn't keeping my girls in, though their feathery skirts are flying!

This weekend we had the two older grands, and their stepbrother. The house was full of boys, and we saw a good movie and then came home to play Monopoly. This morning after church I made cookies to be taken home and shared before we started out to meet their mother. We are glad to see them, but glad to "get the house back" too, and have peace and quiet, which we are enjoying now. Husband is napping, and I'm blogging, prior to going out to do the evening chores.

Pictures? I still can't figure out how to post the new Kodak Pictures into the blog... but I'll figure it out this week!

We are praying that Easter Sunday will be about 30 degrees warmer with sunny skies!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Today We Make Fence

Okay, today Husband and Grandson make fence!

The new goat pen will be built today if the rain will just hold off for a while, yes, it's Saturday, and about to rain again! The sun is making feeble attempts to break through the cloud cover as I write this, but the forecast calls again for 70 degrees today, and rain all day tomorrow! Kansas weather!

Today we let the new silkies, production reds, and the remaining Old English hen out of the Little Henhouse for the second time. We attempted it once before, but they were still so young that they became disoriented in the henyard. We had to net one, and we don't like doing that unless it's absolutely necessary. We left them inside in the bad weather this week, but I liberated them this morning. I can tell the production reds will be okay, they immediately came down the ramp and began investigating. The silkies are more hesitant to come out, which is fine. Curley, the red frizzle rooster who is not much bigger than they, ran for them as fast as his little legs could carry him! Back up the ramp they went! Pretty soon Butch came out, and wandered over there to see the new bits of fluff and pulchritude. When I came out of the henyard, he had sashayed up the ramp of the henhouse and inside, and there was a red and buff tide following him. I will go out soon in the sprinkles to make sure they are all well, but I left the warming light on inside for them, just in case.

On Tuesday, we will be delivered a new gander and two geese, to join our Sammy and the three duck ladies, Martha, Mary and Maggie. Along with the gander and geese will come two llamas, our first foray into camelids. Mama Llama and her yearling son Tony will join the family for a few months as they are kept in our pasture for the summer. We hope Mama will drive any more coyotes off, and close down the Waterfowl Buffet. In the meantime, Beau is grazing in the yard, and the waterfowl being locked up at night in the henyard incase another sneak attack is being planned.

Ah, Spring!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coyotes Have to Eat Too

Sunday night, the predators got into the pasture at Calamity Acres for the first time. Surrounded by livestock fence, and with our stalwart guardians Ranger and Lilly in the yard, we thought to be large-predator free. Yes, we had lost a few birds to owls and/or possums, and actually had had a possum wander into the henyard and die once last year, a scary proposition. But Sunday night brought an attack by the coyotes who range around here on our waterfowl, and we lost Timmy, our big gander raised from a small gosling. It's hard to lose another member of our animal family, so close on the loss of Lacey and Isis. We found what was left of him on Monday evening, where the coyotes could not get him through the fence. It was hard on Husband, who had heard the attack and got out there just a bit too late. The girls are now being locked up in the henyard at night until we can get things under control again and make the coyotes understand - without killing any - that the diner is closed for business.

A new gander and two new geese are coming Saturday, but we will keep locking them up at night until we are sure that the coyotes are hunting elsewhere.

Sic transit Timmy.