Sunday, October 23, 2022

Saddle Up! It's Gonna be a Long One!

Some of you will remember there is a beautiful maple tree in the valley below me. 

Unfortunately, the tree line has grown up terribly, and I can hardly see my neighbor's ponds now.  (Which I love from afar). 

I almost missed it this year... can you see the top of it, all aglow? 

Today's sunrise. 

We are having terrible, terrible wind, this is the third day. 
Yesterday, our wonderful township voluneer firefighters fought a brush fire that stretched eight city blocks in overgrown brushfilled pastures. 
Four other local townships assisted.  Thank God for these men and women who donate their time to keep us all safe. 

It is hard to get anything done outside today, it is really blowing. 

Clouds are coming in as I type this at 2:18 PM.... we have a real chance at rain overnight and tomorrow.  We are in a terrible drought, and need it badly.  I am beginning to see people list livestock for sale and give the reason "no hay" for selling them.  

Three days ago, this greeted me on the porch of the big henhouse. 

I was afraid for a minute it was dog poop... and that scared me, I'll show you why. 
After I looked at it for a while (and before I cleaned it off) I decided it was raccoon or cat. (or raccoon top and cat bottom) 
To be candid, I have never had a cat poop on the porch. 

Both waterbowls, heated and unheated, were empty.  EM-TAY. 

Holes were dug in the hen yard, and I did not take a picture, but the cat carrier I have in the silkie pen for Mary to lay in was overturned. 

Drumroll.... the proof. 

I am regularly seeing possums out as early as 5 PM now, so I have been shutting everyone up starting at five.  I work around the possum, taking care not to lock him in the henhouse, and I check high and low before closing doors. 

The wind is dispersing the milkweed seeds, a good thing!

I found this in memories.... That's Abby looking at me from the couch.  I may do another Fall Tree next year.  
I rarely have grands come here now, unlike when they were little, so I don't decorate as much as I used to. 

I think staying, did anyone have any doubts? 

This guy was sitting at the top of the pasture as if to say... "Aren't you putting scraps out tonight?".  

(why I got worried when I saw the poop. They can sail over a fence with no effort). 

And this one was waiting for him to move. 

And they are BOTH cautious around this guy.... skunk! 


This alien has been showing up to eat out of the pasture feeder.  
Looks like a male from the build and from the fact that Bullseye  DOES NOT LIKE HIM. 

I don't know if I am up to trapping yet another and getting it neutered.  All the females here are 
spayed, and Bully is neutered.  
It looks like The Jackal's brother, doesn't it?  For a minute the other night, I thought it WAS Jack back in Angel form to haunt me! 

This old girl is Susie, I have showed her to you before. 
She "talks" to me in a sing song chirp every day when I open the door of the big henhouse. 
Every morning I am stunned to see her.  She is six years old, and has not laid for many years. 
She was given in the dispersal to a friend, and the friend stopped keeping chickens a year ago, so the Ag Hall hens she got six years ago came back to me. 

She used to follow me around, but now, she mostly stays in the hen house with the oldest rooster, and they lay companionably together. 
Today, in the wind, they both stayed inside, and I was glad. 

She made it through our bitter cold on Monday and Tuesday nights, but that is not 
to say the old ones will make it through the first real cold snap. 
It is a delight to have had her, and I had her sister too, in the past. 
Susie is a Speckled Sussex. 

I took this about an hour ago, and it is a little lighter than the one I led off with.  My favorite time of year! 

Stay safe, everyone. 
(and pray for rain for Kansas) 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Summer to Fall

I went out to take pictures of the harvest moon one night last week and did not realize I was set to black and white!  


It was beautiful, though. 

We have gone from 100 degrees here three weeks ago to forties at night.  Yes, my furnace is cycling on. 
It is off this afternoon, airing the house out with windows open. 

Next week, the weatherman tells us we will be in the twenties at night. 

Don't look now, but Foster Buddy is still here. 
I think they have forgotten about him, I have not heard from the rescue for over a week. 
I just had a trash hauler here and he fell in love with him... he is a lovable boy. 

The bean fields surrounding me are ripening, and many farmers have started harvesting. 
Friends, we need rain.  We got maybe a scant quarter inch two mornings ago.  Right now it has been sprinkling off and on, but more off than on. 

I have only seen Singleton on the roost once in the last week, he is pretty much sleeping in the brooder pen.  He molted very, very hard this year... he has no tail feathers left, and the feathers in his hackles are so sparse... that's his good side!  He looks battered and... old. 

The other two big roosters, his dad and brother, look much the same. 
The little roosters look better, but they are younger, too. 

Wanda slept in the big hen house a few nights ago.  The night before, she had slept in the little hen house. 
I wonder if she is scared of night predators. 
(I can handle Wanda, she just looks really feral here) 

She does not bother the chickens.  If I lock Teenie in, Teenie will chase them in the morning. 

I am getting ready to turn on the chick light in the shop next week for the cats, it is going to be down in the twenties at night all week.  I'm also going to hook up the heated water bowls. 

I ordered three new poultry base warmers, and they should be here on Saturday. 
It just makes my life so much easier and the chickens healthier, to have warm water in the henhouses.  With as few as I have, I won't have to be filling the fountains more than once a day, and what's in them will stay warm.  For the old hens, it's important. 

I took a break after I started this, and went out and did chores.  For the first time since before the birds began to molt, I got six big eggs from the young hens and one silkie egg from the only silkie hen I have left, who lays every other day now.  

I also spent the better part of an hour trying to get Doug the Killer Cotton Ball out from under the big henhouse, I literally made six trips out there, and even attempted to belly crawl under the henhouse.  Finally, I banged enough on the outside that he ran out in panic and I think, realized he was alone.  I was able to net him.  Tomorrow... he stays in the brooder pen in the hen house, the one that the other two silkies sleep in at night.  This is the third time this week, and raccoons are already out, I chased one off the porch when I made the last trip.  What truly scared me is that Zoey had been out by herself, and the raccoon must have crossed the yard right where she could see it. 

Doug, when the vegetation was going crazy.  You see how small he is. 

I am so tired tonight I almost sacrificed him.  Tomorrow is the Lineman's Rodeo at the Ag Hall.  There has not been a huge one since before Covid, and they have gone all out.... families have come in from other countries, and there will be lots to see and do besides the competition (pole climbing). I will be at the front desk, thankfully, and out of the ruckus.... but... I will be tired by the time I get home, and I do not relish another session, so tomorrow he stays in the brooder house. 

This is grandson Jax (Yes, we know he needs a haircut) who has been helping me. 
On Tuesday after school, he worked on cleaning out the hay shed, where I now keep recycling. 
He is holding up a scratch grain sack so I can tell you all something. 

Seven years ago, Keith and I bought "The Big House" and moved from Calamity Acres for a couple of years.  We decided when we moved there that we were going to recycle as much as we could, so we set up recycling in our garage.  For years, I have taken birdseed and chicken feed and sheep feed sacks to the recycling center for the county, which is in Lansing  There is a bin there where you put plastic bags and grocery plastic bags.  I have probably put several hundred of the plastic sacks Jax is holding in the wind in this bin. 

Last Friday, I saw something Leavenworth County posted on FB, and it puzzled me, so I asked a question.  Lo and behold, I was answered almost immediately and the answer was that a bin was provided for us to put plastic bags in. 

Guess what? 
They are put in the trash!  
The recycle center does not have a contract with anyone to recycle them, so they simply provide the bin, and when it is full, one of the workers wheels it to the pit, and it is dumped! 


I could not believe it, I even called the office on Tuesday and the lady said "You asked that question online didn't you?" and I laughed and told her yes. 
They don't recycle them, friends.  Trash. 

I was stunned. 

Okay, don't read the next section if you are squeamish. 

You know I love possums. 


On Sunday, Jax was also here working for me, and he did a super job clearing a fence line. 
When we went to get the tractor hooked up to the trailer to haul the stuff down to my brush pile, we saw a very elderly possum coming across the yard.  I looked at Jax and said it was unusual for him to be out during the day.  When I connected the wagon, he froze and "played possum".  I told Jax he was a very old one.... dark, dark gray unlike the one above.  

I had seen him the night before in the pasture at dusk. 
After I moved the tractor, he continued on between the shop and the garage, and came out to where we were working.  We kept an eye on him... it was hot, and he stopped several times, and headed for the shade of a tree in the fence line.  I told Jax he was probably going to go under Troy's shed, which is just on the other side of the fence there.  Pretty soon, he laid down again.  We kept an eye, but we were almost finished and I had to get Jax home.  

When I came back, before I went in the house, I decided to go check on the possum.


I felt so bad, they only live about two years. 

Here's where it gets dicey, so I'm warning you. 

I picked him up (gloved) and carried him down to the pasture and laid him down... and it was, indeed, a male. 

Next day.  (Vultures should be leaving by this weekend) 

That night. 

The next day, there was only a tiny bit of skin and bone. 

Last night, I watched a coyote roll in it. 

That poor old possum fed the two vultures and cleaned my pasture. 

Everything is here for a reason, folks. 

Tomorrow is the fifteenth, and the vultures are usually all gone by then.  I saw one today as I drove down to the Ag Hall. 

Hummingbirds are gone. 

The blackbirds (grackles and starlings) are back at the feeders, but not happy with 
the very plain feed I am feeding, which is fine with me.  

Very little feed is wasted now. 

A few of the flowers are still hanging on! 

Next time, I'll post some of the pictures I am getting on the pasture cam.  Those of you who have read this blog for years know that we always kept a feeder of sorts in the pasture for the wildings.  Now that the sheep are gone, I put two cups of dog food and whatever leftovers we have (very few) in the pasture.  I have not seen any foxes... we always had them before... but... I have seen a skunk, which I had not seen for years! 

I'll show you next time. 



Sunday, October 2, 2022

Missed a Week!

I have been trying to make at least one weekly post, but I sure missed last week. 

I'm going to make it up to post Covid tiredness, still, and believe me, it's real. 

The doctor tells me it will be some time before I am back to "normal". 

I did get over 8000 steps in the  last three days, though, and over 10,000 yesterday!  

I am feeling much better, but I realize I have to stop and sit down from time to time while I am out working. 

I am going to go out shortly and cut down the tall grass at the top of the pasture. There is a growth there that came up when the sheep went home... and I need to trim it back.  It will also help the camera out there be able to take better pictures of the wildings.  

There is a classic pose of a coyote on the 28th... looking at the fortex where I put food scraps, etc. 

There was a disagreement between the coyote and a big possum. 

The possum gave up when reinforcements came. 

I suspect the fortex was actually empty at this point. 

And then, for two nights in a row, a creature I have not seen here in MANY years appeared... a skunk.  It let the other animals know in no uncertain terms that the fortex was his! 

See the tail? 

This very bad view through the kitchen door was taken last night, when one of my visitors came to eat cat food.  I had brought everything in, but Mama had been out there a few minutes before, and I took a small amount out and poured it for her.  
Here is the rest of the story:  I went out, sat down in the chair to the left of the door, and talked to that raccoon until it finished eating all the cat food, and left the deck through the railing just behind it.  I swear to you, they are not scared.  I did not have my phone with me, or would have taken some pictures. 

Sunrise on the 26th. 

The roadsides are becoming beautiful.  The Big Bluestem waves in the wind. 

Sumac is beginning to turn, too.  I had the camera with me when I went to do an errand this morning, but did not stop to take pictures of the trees beginning to turn.  I'll try to do it later. 

I am hitching up my little wagon to the tractor to pull some bins over to the storage building... it's finally time to put the summer clothes away.  Two weeks ago tomorrow and Tuesday, it was 100 degrees here.  Right now, it's 72, and the overnight lows were in the 40s.  

My Saturday co-worker at the Ag Hall (The National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame) is Wayne.  His grandson Brayden has practically grown up there.  He had not been able to come over to Grandpa's for a month, and yesterday, he spent the day with us.  He set up his tent in the lobby and had his fourwheeler there, he was in and out... but he is so helpful because he knows where everything is and can answer questions when people come.  I can also run in the restroom with him there because he can let the people know I will be back in a minute!  

He's a big help! 

My poor old big roosters.  Singleton, here, has quit roosting. 
He flies up into the open brooder pen in the old hen house every night now, and sleeps in a little nest he has made.  He is actually the dominant rooster of the three big ones, but I noticed last night his poor old tail is almost gone.  
There are only two hens left in this hen house, and one never comes outside any more, but spends her days in solitude. 

Not a cat. 

Son Jim came out and did some maintenance on the little hay shed, but.... the siding all needs to come off and be replaced, Keith did not build that for longevity.  I would give anything for Ben to reappear for a week.  I should have had him take the sides off and rebuild it. 
Jim did the best he could under the circumstances.  

Zoey has been here almost a year now.  She saw the vet this week, and got a 
clean bill of health except for worn teeth.  She will be due for shots at the end of the month. 

She is my barker, and lets me know when something is amiss.  

And now we come to.... 

Buddy, or BigDog, as I call him a lot of the time. 

Buddy is a foster for Bonner Animal Rescue, from whom I adopted 
Fritzie and Zoey.  

Buddy was found in the county on Labor Day, starving, nails overgrown, in very sad shape.  He was still wearing a chain collar.  His first pictures were very sad, and no one came forward and claimed him. 
The wonderful ACO in Bonner, Officer Kendra, drove out and picked him up.  She had him vetted and they found he was underweight and had a UTI. 
He has all his shots and a chip now, and last Tuesday, he was neutered.  He has been here about three weeks.  He has gained weight and is happy and healthy.  He minds you....and, unlike our beautiful Ranger that Keith and I had... he does not bark.  He is able to stay crated when you need him to, and goes right in.  He does have to go out frequently because of the UTI, but not as much as that first week. 
He still has it, when he was neutered they checked... so we are now doing stronger antibiotics for a couple of weeks. 
He is a senior, purebred GSD.  

He is good with the other dogs, with the cats, and with the chickens, whom he ignores. 

Many people were interested in him that first day when the finder posted him on Facebook. 

I am hoping one of them will step forward to give him a good home when his adoption 
availability is announced.  Everyone assumes he is staying here, but I am not able to take another dog right now, though I will continue to foster. 

(Taken the first day he was here)

In the meantime, he can just stay here and grow stronger and healthier.  I truly believe someone will want this beautiful old boy and give him a good home. 

Though leggy, I am still enjoying the coleus.  I will plant more next year. 

I am going to stop here and go out and do a little work on the tractor.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their month, and I hope we are all praying for those poor people who have lost everything due to the natural disasters in the south.  My heart goes out to all of them.