Saturday, March 16, 2019

From Winter to Spring!

On the fifth, we had bitter, bitter weather. 

This young bird hung around all morning, I am sure it was 
very, very hungry (juvenile red-tailed hawk). 

It was bitter most of that week, and my electric bill 
reflected it.  

This week, just past, was milder, but very, very rainy and windy. 

Every time I looked out the door, this is what I saw.  
Chickens (and roosters) on the doorstep, staying out of the rain. 

I have tripped over them numerous times, and frankly, I am 
up to here with chicken poop. 


I have hired a fencing crew to come and put up fence.  I originally 
thought to cut the yard in two, and fence off the southern half for the chickens, 
with a wide driveway gate, and two smaller walk gates.  I realized I did not 
really want to do this, so asked the fencing supervisor to re-measure, and we are now 
going to fence the half acre around the two bigger henhouses on the west side. 
The hens in the old hen house, pictured above, are moving back to the 
National Agricultural Center for the summer. 

Tuesday night, the fencers came to drop off supplies.  As you see, the truck was 
parked just OFF level ground, and they became hopelessly mired. 
A second and then a third truck was brought to try to pull them out, and as you can 
see, it left a mess, nine inches deep in some points.  The supervisor told me that 
when they DO start fencing, he will use displaced dirt to fill it in. 

I have told him NO fencing will commence until the yard is dry.  I can wait. 

I went down to Garnett on Sunday to get grandson Chris.  He helped me 
on Monday morning to take Cookie to the vet in Tonganoxie to be 
neutered.  I did not realize that with lambs it is imperative that it 
be done EARLY, within two or three weeks, because goats can 
wait a little later. 

As you see, Cookie was getting to be  handful at three weeks. 

Dr. LaRosh at Pleasant Valley Veterinary Hospital made quick work of the neutering. 
Yes, Chris and I had to leave the room.  Cookie and his mama were so glad to see each other 
when we got home, and Chris got the crate broken down and put away and we actually jumped in the car to go back to Garnett. 

Cookie stayed away from me the rest of the day after my return, and I was glad it was still cold, as it helped with healing and NO FLIES.  

By Tuesday, I could tell he was still stiff, but running around happily again. 

He is one month old today.  He is eating along with his mama and Aunt Fluffy, 
both grain and some hay, though he is still nursing. 

I wish he had a playmate, but frankly, after the hard winter we just had.... I am glad 
I was not caring for all eight sheep that boarded here before. 

It is a glorious day today, and I actually enjoyed carrying my feed in buckets to the different hen houses.  So much better than trudging over the snowy ground. 

There are buds everywhere. 

As I took the feed into the hen spa this morning, 
I interrupted feral Rusty eating his breakfast (I leave a deep dish of 
cat food in there for them) and I stopped to look at the nest boxes, 
there were five hens already laying.  I am averaging from 21 to 25 eggs a day now.
I have a lesser number about every third day, some of these hens are, after all, three year olds. 
I talked to one of the shelter managers at The Community of Hope on Thursday, and 
6 cartons of 18 eggs are about what they need weekly, so I have enough to give to friends, 
which makes me happy.  

Yes, I know this morning's news has announced more bad news about eggs and cholesterol.... but eggs are not the only cause of cholesterol, and people have eaten them for millenia.  I am still going to eat them. 

All three henhouses need a thorough cleaning, and that is part of what I have on the agenda 
this coming week in the better weather we are now having. 

Paiton and Jax had spring break this week, but I had so much going on, I did not see them until yesterday.  We went to lunch at Ihop, and as you can see, they had breakfast for lunch. 
We had a great time visiting. 

I have a confession to make, I LOVE IHOP HOT CHOCOLATE! 

Last Friday, I took Paiton to her riding lesson. 

At this stable, they just don't jump on and off the horses.  She had had to go to the pasture in the cold to catch the horse up, bring her in, groom her, tack her up, ride the lesson, and afterwards (it was nearly seven pm and dark) blanket Appy again before she was turned back out.  Thankfully, her riding instructor took care of that on Friday evening. 

Paiton is doing very well, and I hope to take her again in a few weeks and get good pictures of her. 

Jester loves his sunbeams. 

My girl Lil, in the last light of day on Sunday,  on her favorite couch 
in my bedroom. 

There was standing water everywhere after the rain this week, and the ducks were in their glory. 

Here I need to talk about ducks.  These are three Pekin drakes.  For the last week, 
they have been displaying mating behavior on each other... it is normal, but disconcerting. 
They are actually hurting each other.  
I looked out this morning and did not see them anywhere, and finally, after I started chores, I saw them way down in the pasture, trying to breed each other, filthy dirty (all the water has sunk into the ground). I could tell their pool had not been used. 

I went ahead and bucketed a fresh pool, but left them alone.  I had a chance this week to 
send them to the annual spring poultry auction in Gardner, but turned it down. 
I may still re-home them at some point, but for now, we will just see what we will see. 
As of my sitting down to type this at noon, they have still not come back up to the yard. 

More about the fencing... the chickens are going to be in the half-acre on the southwest side of the more-or-less-two-acre yard.  I will miss seeing them running all over, but I will NOT miss 
having no garden (they pulled it all up last year) and having no vegetables at all. 
I can always open the gates if I want them out, but I am making a considerable investment to do this. 

Singleton's group will still be loose in the old hen house, but this is the flock of roughly twelves hens and Singleton that are headed to the National Agricultural Center for the summer. 

It is already 47 here, and going to 57.  I am going to go out and do some preliminary work 
in the gardens, but grandson Chris will be back up in two weeks to do the heavy lifting. 

I hope this was the last blast of winter, it is so nice to walk outside without double layers on! 

One last comment, directed at any other bloggers reading this... last post, I had the strangest comment, one unusual for me, and I have been blogging literally ten years now. 
It was a post from a foreign country delineating "escort" services for those visiting the country.  It was lengthy.  I am sorry if anyone read it and was offended, I took it off, and I realize I need to LOOK at my comments regularly.  I have never had anything like that posted before, though I have had some critical comments that were unwarranted (and I removed them).  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Winter Go Away!

Does anyone know where Spring has gone? 

Friday night, this was about all the snow that was left, except for a few piles on 
the north side of the shop and a few other, scattered around the yard.  Those are the piles left from my shoveling the gate out last week. 

Sunday morning. (notice the four squirrels) 

We didn't get a lot of snow, but what we got was bone-cutting cold. 
It never got above four degrees all day. 

All the birds were kept in, and yes, I caught the 
ducks (horrid, as I expected) and carried them into the 
old henhouse. 
They do not like me. 

Right now it is 16 degrees above, and the feels like is 
3.  IF we get above 20 by noon, I'll let everyone out for a while. 
The thing that worries me, is that I found the ducks actually shivering on 
Sunday morning, which is why they got put into the henhouse.  It is supposed to 
go to nine tonight, and then gradually warm the rest of the week, with highs on the 
weekend in the 40's.  For all of you duck keepers... I have never actually caught 
my ducks shivering... and I have kept them for a long time. 

We do have a bright, sunny day. 

Singleton and his girls are NOT happy about their new roomates. 
This is the oldest hen house, our original.... was adapted for hens. 
Starlings used to get into it ... the walls are still marked... and 
the birds generally go out in front, instead of into the old henyard, which is through 
the popholes you see. 

All of the hen houses need cleaning, but I am NOT doing it in the cold. 

I don't know how well you can tell, but light refracted through the 
communications tower in the wild area across from me the last two days, and 
made a rainbow in the snow in my side yard. 

My girl Lil tries to stay with me as I do chores, but more and more, she 
must lay down or sit down and rest, and just wait for me.  

Our time grows ever shorter. 

Little Cookie (granddaughter Paiton said he looks like 
Cookies and Cream ice cream) is growing strong, 
and Mama Flicka is taking good care of him. 

He and Lilly are very curious about each other. 

It's comforting to me to look out and see the lights on in the 
little barn at night.  The sheep do sleep inside, but are mostly 
outside during the day, despite the cold. 

I notice Cookie nestles close to his Aunt Fluffy and Mama 
on the coldest days. 

Those lights will be turned off this weekend. 

As my friend Vickie said, 

"That's a happy, healthy lamb!" 

Many of you who have read this blog for the last ten years 
know that I am a huge circus fan. 

I rarely get to go any more, and I post this knowing that some people are 
going to be angry that I admit to this love for an old tradition.  I had the pleasure of 
knowing some long time circus workers, and several performers in the "old days"... and belonged to Circus Fans of America for years. 

Saturday, despite the cold, I took Paiton and Jax to Garden Brothers Circus. 
There are no longer any elephants on the show, or big cats. 

They did have a pony sweep, very small ponies for very small kids, and 
one camel.  I looked, all animals were in great shape.  The only animals 
in the performance were four trick horses ridden by the Cossack riders, 
and one dog, in a clown skit.  The horses were led around at intermission 
for the larger kids to ride.  

The performers were young, in great shape, and put on a great show. 
If you have a chance to see them... they often do Shrine Circus shows...
then take advantage of it. 

We were in the front row. 

We ate a lot and had a great time. 

Paiton has continued all winter with her riding lessons, 
and I get to take her on Friday afternoon.  I'll try to get 
some good pictures to show where she is now, after nearly a year 
of lessons.  I'm so proud of her, she rode on some really cold weekends, 
and had to go out in the field and catch Appy, her regular mount.  

They did cancel lessons this weekend, in the sub-zero weather, thank 

We are headed for fifties, and they can't come soon enough!

Jester might even be able to come out of hibernation!