Sunday, November 25, 2018

Down the Lane and Back Again

As I sit here this morning, Northeast Kansas (including Leavenworth County) is in a blizzard watch until 6 PM tonight.  It was 40 out when I got up at 7 AM, and got outside and topped off all water. 

I left all chickens in today, and the sheep are imprisoned in their pen.  More about the sheep in a minute. 

I want to publicly thank my son Jim Hazzard, for coming out here this morning at 
9, before the snow started, and climbing down in the well house and turning on the 
heat lamp to keep my pump from freezing.  It happened once last year, because 
I had forgotten about turning on the lamp in winter (my first winter back).  I had an extended 
conversation about this with a friend the other day, and we left it with the suggestion 
that when the electrician comes out this week, I have him wire a 
switch into the house or porch than can be turned on and off from OUTSIDE the 
well house, so no one has to climb down in except when the bulb needs to be switched out. 

I had planned to do that before I realized we were going down to fourteen degrees the next three nights. 

Like I said, God Bless Jim! 

This is right now, outside my front door.  There is a squirrel on the side of the tree, 
another at the base, and a third on the flat feeder to the left.  I also put water out for them, 
but I think the starlings may have drank it all.  I'll take more out shortly. 

I have always kept a heated water bowl on my deck for the animals, but.... that is why I am having the electrician come, I have three outlets not working, and the fourth is running the heated bucket to the sheep pen. 

I don't mind taking heated water out for the wild birds during the day. 

I went to church yesterday afternoon, in anticipation of staying home all day today. 

So.. let's catch up on what has been going on around here. 

Some is good, some bad. 

I had no working computer for 12 days, this computer is on its' last legs, 
and finally the great Mercury Wireless techs came, troubleshot... found that the internet had never been off, but the computer is a mess.  I could see that the cable was working, but 
needed to confirm there really is a problem with the old computer, so... a new computer is in my future, but I am NOT hurrying to make a decision. 

Two weeks ago, the man keeping the sheep here caught me in the driveway one day and told me he had sold the sheep.  He was leaving two for me.  He told me that he would come to get them on Saturday. 

It was a disaster.  Number one, I was very, very attached.  I had talked to him about buying the two full hair sheep, but could not give Big Mama up.... the kindest, most friendly ewe ever. 

Big Mama on the deck that day. 

I knew she would have to be sheered, but I told him I wanted Big Mama and her baby, Brownie. 

I went in the house, it was upsetting me.  I went back out when I saw that they 
intended to leave the ram, and I told them NO.... he must go. 
I did not pay attention. 

They had loaded Brownie, who had a black face, and left Fluffy, 
who also had a black face. 

Mama called for six hours for Brownie, came up and stood at my door, 
crying.  I thought "Oh, she will calm down".  Brownie was weaned, but they still laid together all the time. 

Sunday, she went down.  No cud chewing, no eating or drinking. 

Monday, we had a horrible snow storm, I called Eudora Pet Hospital, 
and despite it's mundane name, they do large animal practice. 
Dr. Guy Shane arrived within the hour, and we gave her 
shots, and he left three days worth of shots for me. We also dragged her 
inside the barn. 

She never ate again.  She wobbled out of the barn on Wednesday, and 
went down, and I called him, and God Bless him, he was there in 
45 minutes, and mercifully, euthanized her.  She had gotten pneumonia, 
then aspirated.  I blamed myself, I did not stay out there to make sure 
they loaded the right lambs.  

Her lamb had been weaned, but the vet said the stress of the others leaving 
had caused her to go down.   I was afraid I would lose Fluffy, who 
was not a bit tame, and she and her partner Freckles had come after the others, 
and were the lowest on the totem pole... so... I networked with some friends (one of whom had three pet sheep) and found a man in Basehor who had some. 
 A friend from the Ag Hall helped me load and bring her home. (it takes a village, because a feed store where I get hay from time to time loaned me a big carrier to put her in!) 

So, Fluffy, low girl on the totem pole, is now the Queen, and Flicka is coming into her own, and probably bred.  Fluffy MAY be, Diablo, the ram lamb, had reached sexual maturity.  I am NOT looking to deal in sheep, these guys are pets only, and I would be satisfied with no lambs. 
Flicka is wild as the wind, but I noticed that Fluff is now calling to me when I go outside. 
They are set up with a heated water bucket, and the little barn is plenty big for the two of them.  This morning, it is bedded down and I put several flakes of hay in there to keep them busy today in the storm. 

I cannot express enough thanks for Donna Adams and Vickie Soejoto, who gave me advice from afar about Big Mama, and commisserated with me. I truly mourn the loss of this wise old girl. 

So... this was yesterday morning, it was 60 degrees out over the last three days! 

I lost  my two "small" ducks, the Cayuga drake, and the black and white cross duck, over the course of the last week.  I would have said owls... because the drake disappeared without a trace while I found Daisy's headless body... but

this morning I went out and I am now down to THREE of the big Pekins. 

I found this by the pasture fenceline, he ran. 

Sorry for the graphic picture. 

I suspect raccoon, because there was a clear path where the poor duck 
tried to get away. 

I had thought the Big Four were safe. 

So... tonight, if the wind has stopped blowing so hard, 
I'll net each and put them in the old henhouse after the chickens have gone up to roost. 
IF I do ducks again in the spring (and I love them), they will be kept in a covered 
dog pen at night, with a dog house to shelter in. 

They will be fed in the pen only, so they know they have to go there. 

This has not been a pleasant two weeks, trust me. 

We had some happy times!  On Wednesday, we celebrated the sixth birthday of 
Brayden, our little friend from the Ag Hall.  That's Jax (my grand), Jameson (our friend Marsha's grand), Paiton, my grand, and Brayden, who has the most serious look on his face!  He had picked out that ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, but it was hidden here in the freezer at my house.... and we had KFC for our lunch that day.  Brayden was all smiles when he blew the candles out and we cut the cake, and then the kids ran and played and climbed and generally had a great time. 
It was so good to sit down with friends and relax! 

Yesterday, three of the four helped finish decorating The Hatchery and the General Store for our Santa event at the Ag Hall on December 8th and 9th.  They will be helping then, too. 

All we have left to do in those two buildings is hang cup hooks and loop the lights that will be burning that weekend around the windows.  

We all enjoyed lunch at McDonald's Play Place after we finished at the Ag. 

I am going to say here that it behooves us all to start our kids out early being volunteers. 
Paiton and Jax are 10 and 11, and have already been helping for three seasons.  I am so proud of them! 

Brayden and Jameson have practically grown up at the Ag. 

Singleton beats me to the front door every morning, 
I give them a bread treat when I let everyone loose and finish morning chores. 
He loves to crow from an elevated position, either the chair, the railing, or the table 
on the porch. 

He has turned out to be such a beautiful boy.  He also chose the old 
henhouse hens as his own, and sleeps in there now. 

These slackers are his hens, I get maybe two eggs from here daily, 
and these are ALL young hens. 

The calm before today's storm (taken yesterday morning). 
The sheep's owner left that bale, I was surprised when he brought it, 
and then informed me two days later he was selling them. 

These two girls have really not paid much attention to it, but yesterday spent some 
time eating.  

I won't be letting anyone else use my pasture, I have had two bad experiences now, and won't go through that again.  
I realized I really, REALLY don't like strangers coming on the property. 

Here's my beautiful Lilly Ann with the full moon coming up behind her the other night, caught on the game cam. 

I think a yard dog is possibly in my future, these coon depridations have to stop!

(Yes, Flea, you have about convinced me) 

Jester has the right idea! 

I am going to go out and check on everyone, and then come back in and join Jes. 

Everyone stay safe in our crazy winter weather! 

Another shout out to my friend Deb Long, up in Iowa.  (also getting weather today). 
You have been the most supportive of friends for months, and I can't thank you enough. 
It means a LOT to me! 


  1. So sorry you've had such a time! I wouldn't let anyone use your land, either. I'd get attached to the animals and be in the same situation.

    Winter is really here...I don't care for snow.

  2. Hari om
    So sorry about the sheep and the duck. The shot of Singleton on the chair arm is most beautiful!!! It's so hard not to attach to our anipanions!!! YAM xx

  3. I am sorry you have had such trouble. I gave up boarding other people's animals years ago because it always leads to problems and heartbreak. If I am going to accept the responsibility, hardship and possible heartbreak, I want to be able to have the power to do all that is needed to ensure their care rather than leave it to someone else. I hope your new sheep live a long and happy life with you.

    A Maremma might be just the thing to keep them and all your poultry safe from harm:)

  4. So sad about big mama. I hate that Mary Ann. I hope the other 2 sheep do good together.
    I was going to write you and see what was going on, but now know you had computer problems.

    The kids look happy.

    Good to hear from you.

  5. We live and we learn...Glad all ended well with the two sheep you do have. Hope you all stayed safe in the storm. Here we are now just getting what is left of the storm here in Ohio. Rain and then changing to snow, but not much at all they say. But very blustery! I agree about the volunteering. My boys were in scouts and learned early on about volunteering. It's a good thing for sure. Glad you have those happy days to balance out the sad.

  6. Yes, homesteading is lots of ups and downs - lessons - happy times, sad times. It's the way it is. Glad you had help and network of others to share with. That's a blessing.


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