Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Surprise on a Rainy Afternoon

Coming home from work Monday as it was beginning to rain, I noticed Mama and Tony standing in the little barn in the horseyard. All I could think about was hurrying to change so I could get chores done before the rain began in earnest, so I ran in, greeted the pugs, and changed quickly, running back out to the henhouse. I decided to take the llamas their treat first, so walked out with the bucket. They had moved off under Beau's tree, and were grazing, so I called to them.
Up from the grass popped a little head, long banana ears waving and looking around interestedly.
"Who are you?" I cried... "Where did YOU come from" for there in the grass, was a tiny cria, just born. It got to it's feet and wandered toward me, tottering on long legs. Then it walked past slowly, looking around at the pond as the rain began to fall more steadily. I approached it again, and it smelled me, it's long eyelashes fluttering. I praised Mama for her cleverness and walked towards the barn. Mama and Tony came along, with the new member of the little family following unsteadily. Once in the barnyard, I loaded them down with hay and feed. When Husband got home, he found the afterbirth where the baby had dropped in the barn. I cleaned it up, but Mama would not let us touch the baby to dry him/her off. As llamas have fixed tongues, they can't lick their babies dry, but we hoped for the best as Mama is very experienced. Sure enough, this morning Yankee the baby was fine, and being guarded both by Big Brother Tony and Mama. We had storms all night, but by Tuesday night, the sun had come out, and all was well at Calamity Acres.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Second Verse, Same as the First!

Who knew hens could retain... uh...er... breedings???? The Silkie Sisters, locked up now for 3 months in the little henhouse with their five offspring (two cockerels, three pullets, one that looks like an Old English Gamebird) have now surprised us with....four more chicks!!!

One bright yellow, two white, and one strangley gray, considering that the egg had to have come from one of the buff Silkie Sisters, so that chick must be Three, Four's, or Studley's. Hmmmm.

There are probably 8 more eggs under them, so we are having a population explosian. The bad thing is, their older brothers and sisters need to be out in the big wide world, but now I am afraid to leave the pophole door open as I did two days this week.

Mr. T has been satisfied the last three days with eggs, as I caught him in the henhouse searching for a meal. I left an egg on the floor for him this morning, and after my return, the egg was gone, so I know he is full tonight. A certain little brotherless gray chick is safe for one more day. He is smart enough to get high up on the roost now, so hopefully will not be Snake Dinner.

This weekend was spent in a happy way... touring the beautiful gardens on the Water Garden 2009 Tour. A section of the metropolitan area thought of as very low brow served to show the two best gardens of the tour to my mind, and featured not merely a water feature but glorious plantings. They were truly a privilege to view and take pictures of, and I came away with lots of good ideas for the decks and planting beds (and future planting beds) here at Calamity Acres.

Lastly, we are worried about our little Gwen, our cat who is not young, but not old. She is very tiny, having been abandoned with 18 other cats in a home and left to starve. She tries to eat everything in sight, so we are hoping that she has not eaten something that has disagreed with her. She has been a little more lethargic than normal lately, and has all of her shots, etc., so we are going to vet her this week and find out what is going on. She is the most dimunitive of the house animals, except for Kevin the Mouse who lives behind the drainboard and pops up now and then to see what's going on in the kitchen.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Friday morning, Keith and Brandon left for Tucson, Arizona, and the University of Arizona baseball camp. They took the VW Bug, my transportation, to save on gas costs... leaving me the van and truck. I had forgotten how much gas it took to run the bigger vehicles!
Grandsons Chris and Nathan came up for the weekend to celebrate our Independence Day, and help around Calamity Acres. We had a picnic with my brother and sister in law, and in the late evening, shot off our legal fireworks in the "front" yard, where they would not bother the animals. Though it stormed Friday night, the clouds held their rain and we had a mild, windy fourth.

Uncle Beau

Gentle Uncle Beau, our old Gentleman, is fading. Each week sees him thinner and more forlorn, and this week our good vet Dr. Jeannie came to check him again. She asked our intentions for him, and we said we will not put him through another winter in the condition he is in. We have increased his feed, because the grazing he does all day long is not bringing him any benefits. It hurts us to see him like this, but we know we are giving him all the Purina Senior he will eat, along with his medicine and sweet feed. He seems to be comfortable, and rambles between yard and pasture, where Mama Llama lets him know who is boss when he tries to steal her feed.

Out in the Big, Wide World

Our two gray mamas and their chicks are out of the henhouse and in the big wide world now. Both Dovey and her two cockerel chicks and Rosewitha, her sister, with Baby Rambo and her two pullet chicks are doing fine. Dovey had the bigger challenge... we put her on the floor of the henhouse, where she sheparded her two gray chicks around for four days, keeping them safe from the roosters and the big hens. Then, Friday afternoon, I came home to find them in the henyard, still watched over by mama, but doing fine. They have learned to follow her up the ramp into the henhouse at dusk, and to roost in one of the nest boxes, since they can't figure out how to make it all the way to the rafters where Mama sleeps. Despite some plaintive cheeping, she is slowly cutting loose of the chicks and letting them learn on their own, though she does keep track of them during the day.

Rosewitha and her bigger three were finally realeased from the dog pen where they have been living this last month... and they are doing very well. Baby Rambo is brave and runs around checking everything out, though he stays where he can hear Mama. When we moved here to Calamity Acres, we had a Japanese bantam rooster, Fred, who is the grandfather and great-grandsire of the current black and white roosters. Fred was a gentle boy who was known for taking care of all the little chicks... he shepherded them as gently as their mamas did. Fred was one we lost in the savage dog attack in March a year ago. He has stamped his descendents though, because Two, one of last year's grandsons, is sticking right with Rosewitha and the babies. Of course, he may have ulterior motives... see pictures above.