Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

No, I didn't dress the dogs up in costumes, though Facebook is filled with them today.  

I didn't dress the goats up, either! 

Here's Queen Delilah, trying to batter her way through the front door this afternoon, to get to the Place from Whence the Ritz Crackers Come. 

Let me tell you something... that is one strong goat. 

While a half an hour later, Winnie was quietly chewing her cud in the porch chair.  Windy was next to her, Kelly up on the beverage cooler... and Delilah on the straw bale.  They don't know it, but I'm leaving shortly to go deliver Halloween treats... so I am putting them in their pen early today. 

Keith's girls and their families get a bucket o'candy, and a tin of cookies. 

Same for my Jim and his. 

Our big boy was happy to get a peanut butter treat. 

The chickens are a blur coming out of the henspa into the yard.  So happy, every day!

And here's another little happy face... little Jace showing Grandma Mary Ann the beautiful pumpkins they carved over the weekend.  Oops!!!!

Pictures in costume to come tomorrow, I had to drop off cookies and candy before everyone was ready. 

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Rest of the Story

That's the washer agitator. 
That's what I found when I took the wet clothes out 

Uh huh.  

Remember my repair job in the pasture last week?  I didn't clean my pockets out well enough, obviously. 

Keith will tell you (rat on me) that it's not the first time, though it is the most serious. 

I thank God nothing worse happened. 
I thank God I decided to sit and do the post before going to WalMart. 

I thank all of you dear readers for your kind sentiments expressed last night. 

And now, back to the regular post. 

Even with the fog, you can see how beautiful it's getting here. 

There!  There you go! 

It's a blessing to walk down in the pasture and look down on the Spehar's big ponds. 

And the little ones are making good use of browsing time. 

Fort Apache is already being put to good use.  As you see, the chickens moved the straw that was loose around a little.  (!) 

I pushed the bales a little closer together so there were no gaps.  

And of course the ducks used it last night....


However, I found an egg under there this morning, so they are getting the idea! 

Abby could not wait to get out to do chores this morning.   For such a chubbette, she is a very game little dog.

Note the destruction caused by our angel kitties, Nickie and Gwen. 

And here come the girls up out of the pasture, where they made sure nothing was lurking around. 

And, guess what? 

They aren't going to make it by Halloween, but I'll have some more porch decorations for Thanksgiving, and for the goats and chickens to enjoy!  

And here's the little home last night in the fog descending, but lights shining, and still intact and welcoming.  
Thank God we were all allright. 


Our little friend Tweedles is very sick and in the specialty hospital, several weeks after her surgery.  Her mama, Georgie, is very worried sick right now.  Won't you all take a minute to send up a prayer for Tweedle's quick recovery?  If you have ever looked at their blog, you will see that Tweedles writes wonderful blog posts... and we hold her in a special place in our hearts. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Rainy Tuesday and a Scare

This picture pretty much sums up what Delilah thinks of Calamity Acres, I'm afraid. 

To be fair to this poor girl, she lived her whole life from a tiny doeling at Juniper Hill.  She had a companion there, Sampson, who has been gone for a while. 

She is bewildered and cannot figure out why her life is upside down. 

Sharpening her weapons.  She isn't afraid to use them, either! 

However, we did have some periods of relative quiet during the afternoon, thank heavens! 


While I was typing the blogpost this morning, I began to smell smoke. 

I knew there was a paper towel hanging in the kitchen, and I began to think I had left a burner on. 

I went out there... nothing....

I came back in the office and smelled the smell stronger, and went into the bedroom, where Lilly was napping on the bed.  

There was smoke everywhere.  

I called 911. 

You cannot see the whole response from these pictures.  A Kansas State Trooper was here first. 
Then the Tongie City (Tonganoxie) Fire Department, coming from the west.  Then the Stranger Creek department (Volunteers) from the east.  Two sheriff's deputies (one of them Kelly's breeder)... and the Weststar Energy truck.  

I cannot thank all of them enough. 

I had been able to call Keith, who turned around from where he was headed to come back to the house. 

As he got here, his phone rang, it was his boss who was at a meeting in Salina.  Our county emergency manager was in the same meeting, had heard the fire call (he himself is a volunteer) and heard our address.  He told Keith's boss, who called to see if we were okay. 

Kathy from next door had heard the call on Troy's radio (he is a volunteer) had already offered her house to us and the dogs for as long as we needed.  


The kindness of friends... I cannot impress upon you all that when the chips are down... it's your neighbors and friends that will pull for you. 

What did I think to do? 

I did not know if the wall was on fire, or the electricity. 

I called 911 as I went to the kitchen. 

I grabbed my purse, the Western Digital harddrive with our family pictures on it... and my camera. 
I grabbed a leash and leashed Ranger, who needs help. 

I called Lilly and Abby to come, and they came immediately. 

I loaded them all in the car... and drove the car far from the house, and left them. 

I had called Keith initially and hung up on him... and called him back to tell him the house was on fire. 

I got the gate open for the fire department(s).  

I went back in the kitchen for my Carhartt, after the trooper walked through. 

I was so glad to see Keith, and so grateful to God our Father for not losing our beloved little house. 
A washer is nothing. 

Keith had to lift Ranger out of the car but we are all back in the house, Keith on his way to work.... and Mary Ann grateful that nothing worse happened.  

I'm waiting for KanGas to get here to re-light the furnace, and also grateful that it's not 27 degrees out right now. 

Prayers of thanks going heavenwards today! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Last Sunny Morning?

We are supposed to have rain from tonight through Thursday morning this week, with possibly 3 inches.  Our ground can use it. 

I'm going to do some things in the yard today, and be ready to just do chores over the next few days.  I know the goats won't like it, as they do not like to get wet. 

Here are four of the new birds up on the roost this morning.  I'm not sure where the New Hampshire was, but the bantie was down below, on a lower roost. 

These are NOT Welsummer hens, as I thought... I need to look them up, they have that bright white earlobe. According to Nancy Thellman, they are all laying, which will be a bonus to our food pantry patrons!  Thanks, girls! 

The Olde English gamebird hen was on the lower roost... and one of the Mille Fleurs was pecking away at her.  I'm sure it will take a few days for the pecking order to adjust. 

She is the bird on the left of the "middle" perch. 

Notice how everyone scatters when Abby walks in??? 

Last night, I built "Fort Apache" at the little henhouse, the one we have closed up and are no longer using.  Because it's going to rain all week, and because it is getting cold, I wanted to make a space where the ducks can get out of the elements.  This afternoon, I am breaking another bale of straw and making a deep bed within these bales (there is also one on the far side) and they will have a warm place to get out of the elements.  We have done this in the past for the ducks and geese that we've had.  That's six bales used here, and I'll put that straw on the gardens in the spring. 

Here's your blogger this morning, Nancy was nice enough to take my picture when I dropped her cages off.  I asked her to, because I wanted you all to see the wonderful early Christmas gift I got from Keith on Saturday... my very first official Carhartt jacket!  It was so nice to put it on yesterday morning when it was 27 degrees out, and be snuggly in it.  It fits over a sweatshirt, and is very comfortable. 

Thank you so much, Honey! 

(I got to drive the pick'em up truck yesterday and today). 

And I was gifted with two beautiful bales of brome hay for the goats. 

Here's Delilah on the deck, trying to get her bearings.  She was raised her whole life from a little doeling on Juniper Hill, so I know it will take her a few days to get adjusted to her new surroundings and friends.  Believe me, she knows how to use her horns, and the dogs have already learned that.  She is very friendly to Keith and me, and that's a sign of the gentleness she received from her first family, I'm sure.  
I think she's going to work out fine. 

And yes, more goat berries to sweep! 

Now, out to spread the straw and put things away before the rain comes in. 

P.S.  I want to explain to anyone newly reading the blog... there is a "Search" window half way down the right hand side.  It looks like a tiny window, but you can type anything in it and hit "Search" and it will bring up stories on the blog that refer to that subject... such as "Goats" will bring up posts about goats. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meet Delilah

Well, the surprise is here....

This is Delilah, a six year old pygmy doe.  She was living alone since her companion died and I saw her during the Kaw Valley Farm Tour.  I gave her maa maa my name and number if she ever wanted to rehome her... and Thursday, got a wonderful phone call from Nancy Thellman, of Juniper Hill Farms.  

I wrote about Juniper Hill here

Sorry for the picture, I was taking it on the fly.  If you notice, one of the little girls is on the fly as well... there is some pushing going on as Delilah settles in, but I am keeping an eye on them. 

There are some chickens trapped in there, so I am going out in a minute to straighten that out, too. 

I am absolutely blessed to be able to go out and work in weather like this. 

And our color is really showing now.  

What a pleasure to even do errands.  

I proclaim this The Last Snake of the Year. 
In the goat barn yesterday, and I suspect was very lethargic, because I shook the straw and he barely moved.  I hope he got somewhere warm, as it was 27 degrees this morning as I went out to do chores. 

The cold does not bother Donald and the intrepid duck girls. 

And I thought these petunias were goners, but LOOK! 

As you see, the basil is gone, but the parsley... good gosh. 

You cannot see them all here, but the Thellmans also gifted us with six beautiful hens.  I am leaving them in their crate until dark, and then will let them into the henspa, after the hens have gone to roost.  That way, they can find the water and feed, and find a good place to roost for the night. 
They are lovely hens... there is a little brassy back Old English gamebird girl in the back, you can just see her tail.  I'll get better pictures as I turn them loose tonight, and tomorrow morning. 

Of course, I had the help of Pug Power, the Assistant Protector of Us All. 

This was NOT supposed to happen.  While trying to get a rooster and two hens out of the goat yard, 
the babies escaped.  
It took all of 2 minutes for Delilah to figure out how to get out of the pasture and into the yard. 
I turned around, and there she was! 

I had just put the new chickens in the coop, and pulled the cage out.... and boom. 

Not even a Ritz cracker could get her back, she was too interested in the yard. 
Tomorrow, she can explore it, after Keith leaves for work. 

I finally put Lilly on a leash, and after Delilah threatened her a few times, she was happy to follow me back across the yard, and run into the pen (while Lilly looked around in the pasture).  They are all four out there now, getting ready for bed, I hope.  

I hope the babies don't have to sleep in the trough tonight! 

I'm hidin' in here, Maa Maa, so she can't find me!!!!

Thank you so much, Thellman Family, for these wonderful gifts to Calamity Acres! 
We hope you'll come see your babies anytime you would like! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Last Night and This Morning

Last night.  44 degrees F. 

This morning. 24 degrees F. 

And now.... a word about loss....

This has been a long week in Blogville.  
First, Mr. Pip, then Gracie Lynn, and now Benny, our tiny (and first canine) superhero. 

And here in our hometown, my friends Jill and Calep lost their dashing Border Collie, Dash.  
It doesn't seem fair, friends, but it's life. 

It's hard sometimes to do the right thing for our beloved pets, who give us their unrelenting love no matter what we do to them or for them.  
The right thing, as in letting them go before they suffer undue pain and don't understand why their mamas and daddies are letting them suffer.  

It's hard.  

Prayers coming your way for your sore hearts today. 

(and Mr. Pip's mom's letter is truly something, if you have time to go to the link).