Saturday, October 28, 2023

Back to High School

I used to blog daily!  That was actually while I was still working and taking care of a lot more animals than 24 chickens and eight cats!  

It seems I am busier now than then, and I apologize for the long gap. 

This was my yard at the beginning of the week. Dreadfully dry.  

This was our temp on Monday. 

This is today, right now.  
We have had over 3 inches of rain, and it has been raining steadily all afternoon. 

This was, unfortunately, the day of the Jack O'Lantern Jamboree at the 
National Agricultural Center.  The grounds were decorated, but a decision was made to bring it inside the barn at noon... and I am sure the train did not operate, as it cannot run in rain. 
I feel sorry for all the kids looking forward to it.  The volunteers were all there 
and the businesses offering candy, and I hope a few at least got to have fun. 

I just got word that many families did show up and had a good time, despite the steady rain all afternoon! 

Sorry for the graphic photo.  This is Wanda, my little girl that lives in the big hen house. 
Wanda was injured about 3 1/2 weeks ago, and you can see here the top of the tear.  
The stitches (purple string) are now out, and the hole is almost closed.  We went to the vet every other day for two and a half weeks and she has been living in our office (smallest bedroom) since the start of the treatment.  She is doing amazingly well! 
The hole was treated with a poultice of sugar, honey and silver, because there was not enough skin to pull together over it.  It looks clean today and is healing fast.  
I'll try to get a picture tomorrow of how it looks now.  She is in for another few weeks, and is welcome to be an inside cat if she wants. 

There are still some baby raccoons out there. 

And, some giant ones! 

I turned the warming light on over the Kuranda bed two weeks ago, and Cleo loves to sleep on it. 

This month marked the seventh anniversary of Keith's death.
I cannot believe it has been that long. 

My friends Snickers and Doodles went home a week ago tomorrow. 

Along with Snowball... at fourteen, I don't know if she will be back next year. 
I really miss them already, but am also glad not to be carrying water in buckets, since I have dropped my hoses. 

This is Sammy, the Salmon Faverolle, and Reddy, the red production chicken, 
neither of whom lay. 
I have a lot of pensioners here. 
Someone contacted me today... I don't know how he got my number two years later... he must have kept it... I rescued two chickens from him TWO years ago... he wanted to know if I could take ten roosters from his parents, they had bought chicks at a feed store and ended up with ten roosters. 
I respectfully declined and told him I hoped they could find someone. 

I am down to two roosters, and holding there. 
Buddy has taken over his brother Singleton's flock, and spends most nights in the old hen house now. 
Every once in a while, I find him back in his own big hen house.  There are two very old hens in there, and I don't know if they will make it through the cold this year. 

Two weeks ago, I celebrated my 55th high school reunion. 
Yes, folks, my 55th! 
That's your blogger in the middle of the group... these are 1964 graduates of 
St. Peter's Cathedral Grade School, now called Resurrection School. 
There were 8 of us there and there were two more expected, who were unable to come. 
Please excuse my crazy short hair, and it was a sight that day! 
I had on my Ringo Starr tee shirt because my childhood friend Debbie, who 
you can see in the middle of the two ladies to my right (left in the picture) is a huge Ringo fan and could not go to the concert. 
About 52 classmates showed up, and we visited and ate barbecue and generally had a great time. 
I think we are all past trying to impress each other. 
We had lost seventeen classmates since the 50th... 
we met in our school cafeteria.  
I can't tell you how good it was to see my old friends and have a good face to face visit. 
(each grade school had their pictures taken together... some had only one or two representatives, as time is really taking its toll on us). 

We've become our grandmas. 

Somewhere in this computer, I have some lovely photos taken on my big cameras.  I can't find them. 
The program I have used for years is no longer active, and I have to save them willy nilly, and I am losing the darn locations. 
I'll try to do better next time! 

Happy Halloween! 

This is from a wonderful yard in Garnett, Kansas, that decorates every year for Halloween.  My grandson Chris and I went to the Mennonite store on Tuesday, and came around to the side to take some pictures. 

If it had not been raining, we would have gotten out. 
You see on the tree the yard is all lit up for the display at night.
Truly remarkable! 

My hair looks SO STUPID in that picture :-) 


Friday, September 15, 2023

Fall is Almost Here

The summer flowers have still been going strong... 

But the fact is, things are starting to fade now.  I have already pulled the 
amaranthus out of the two planters it was in. 

I won't plant it again, I had planted it in the ground years ago, but I did not like how it looked in it's planters over the summer

I absolutely loved the wildflower mixes I planted this year, but they were extremely water-hungry, and I could not keep up with dead heading the many zinnias.  As much as I loved the unusual wildflowers in the mixes, I won't plant these next year. 

My well has to pump up after I use a lot of water, and I had to pace myself all summer in our hot weather.  
I'm going for something much easier to take care of next summer. 

The hanging baskets I made still look really good on the shaded edge of the porch roof. 

They smell good, too. 

My one tomato plant, a cherry, is still bearing, and that blue flower is an example of the wildflowers in one of the mixes.  I really enjoyed them. 

The grass is dying already, and I have not had to cut often these last two weeks.  I am going to get the mower out today to do along the road and a couple of other spots, but really... we have had so little rain it has not been necessary. 

My friends in the big sheep flock went home three weeks ago, and three 

individuals came over to stay with me for a while... 

Snickers the Jersey heifer, Doodles the goat, whose mama Apple was here for two summers... 

and Snowball, one of the first sheep my friends who board here owned.  

I have so enjoyed watching these three, I told their owner I was in love with them and they had to stay forever! 

Seeing their faces at the fence makes my day brighter!

We have had some losses here, too, including one very sad one, yesterday. 

I took this picture one day last week, when I randomly walked around with my camera one evening.  I had let the chickens over on the "house side" of the yard... and I found Singleton out by the deck as I came out.  

Singleton was the boss rooster.  He was one of two sons of brown Ferdinand, who died over the summer.  Singie was the only chick in his clutch to hatch, and his mama raised him for a few weeks way back six years ago, thus his name, Singleton.  He bossed his daddy around unmercifully... and his brother Buddy and the smaller rooster, Doug, the Silkie.  

On Wednesday, I heard him crow oddly... and turned around and teased him for it.  
That morning, when I let them out, I heard him give a barking cough, twice, and I turned quickly to see who had done it, because it is an indication of respiratory infection. 

I told him he had better not get sick on me.  He took wonderful care of his hens, and I could trust him to get them in safely every single night.  Indeed, Wednesday night they were all in at seven, waiting for me to lock up. 

I found him gone in the brooder pen yesterday morning.  I was stunned. 
The ground is like iron here, or he would have been buried. 

I could not get a shovel into it out in the garden to dig a hole, and my oldest son was out of town this weekend.   

I had to put him in the pasture, where I put other offerings for the coyotes. 

It broke my heart; of all, he should have been buried here. 

The day before, I had lost my last Ameracauna hen, 
she had been fading over the course of a week... not going outside.... not able to stand for long.  She was not in pain, just fading.  (no coughing) 
She was on the floor, gone, when I walked in on Wednesday. 

I feel like this girl will be the next.  She is very old, already eight... she is the last of the Brown Leghorns, and laid a wonderful huge white egg for years.  She is the first one in every evening, and is not roosting anymore, though she does fly up to the next boxes in the big hen house and make herself comfortable in a nest for the night. 

It saddens me to see my birds grow old.  I only get a few eggs daily now... though I do have the three pullets from this year to come on in the spring.  Cochins are not prolific layers, though. 

They are still being carried in and out daily, though they are almost full grown... because I am afraid for them to go under the big hen house and then have to struggle to get them out.  
It has to come sometime, I know that.  

I am wondering if maybe it is time to move them over to the old hen house which is on level ground, and introduce them to the girls there. 

(Singleton's old house). 

There's Bob... cause of my rabies shot series that I just finished. 
I am not dead, so he must not have had it. 
He is going to get rabies and distemper shots in the next few weeks, so I don't ever have to worry again. 

The trees are already turning, and poison ivy growing in them has turned bright red. 
Fall is here. 


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Even More Heat

Heat has become the new normal here in Kansas lately. 

The sheep came back just in time for the heat.  They are grazing in the early morning and the late evening, and at night.  
They have been doing okay in the heat of the day, and believe me, it's been hot.  It got to 100 yesterday, with a "feels like" of 124. 

I try to keep their pools filled with clean, cold water... and the swimming pool that is their drinking backup is in the shade, and the area all around it is kept wet and cool... about six of them lay there in the shade every afternoon.  

So far, the chickens have survived, but egg production has gone down to two or three a day. 
I did lose one bird in the hot spell three weeks ago... but so far, no more. 
I check them frequently during the day.  About 5, I put frozen bottles in their fountains with fresh water, but frankly... today it will be six before I do that, because I am leaving them out later.   I'm letting them choose when to go back in the hot hen houses. 

Mamita was enjoying the fan and the cool floor in the shop. 

Mama was the mother (now neutered) of the kitten litter that was born here.  They are all in rescue now. 

She never got bigger than a teenage kitten herself. 

I don't even shut the shop door at night,  they have to have some air flow, along with their fan. 

That is NOT a cat on the porch of the big hen house! 

The same camera caught this picture I was so glad to see.  That's Diamond Lil from Kitty Cat Connection, she is truly the most feral of any cat that was let loose here. 
She will not let anyone come near her, and I honestly thought she had disappeared, I had not seen her in so long.  She was out of luck... I take the food up at night... so I am hoping she is eating in the garage during the day, when I don't see her. 

She is a dilute calico. 

Here is Bob looking in the window at me.  He wants to come in and be on my lap. 
Bob is still half feral... he and Coco cannot be together, she hates him. 
What happens is one must go to my room and be locked up, while the other is in. 
Last night, Bob was in my room and ... still playing roughly... bit me hard, breaking the skin on the back of my left hand.  I'll be watching it for a few days to make sure I don't have a problem there. 
He was ushered out with a bowl of food onto the back deck, and did not come back in until early this morning.  He is our right now, under the deck where it is cool. 

Every year, I like to grow something a little different. 
This year, I grew wildflower mixes in the various planters I have. 

I have some opinions about them after the summer has passed. 

They have been WAY too water-dependent... and the zinnias, frankly, while always some of my favorite flowers... have been a pain to deadhead.  Notice I took this from far away!  I need to spend 30 minutes deadheading later today, that's how bad it is. 

All those spent flowers get carted to the compost heap. 
I used to save all the seeds, I no longer do. 

I saved balsam seeds for years, and my porch planter balsam is half the size of the balsam in the planters that I planted this year. 

That's balsam on the patio, and the deck balsam is about half that size. 

I do love that there are tiny wildflowers in the mixes.  I love them. 

And I am seeing butterflies. 

The bed of sunflowers I envisioned did not happen.  I had about eight come up, that's it.  That lovely orange one was in the middle and is just blooming.  

I am going to find a different place to plant them next year. 

The problem with sunflowers has always been that their root balls take up so much room. 

Another example of a wildflower in one of the mixes. 

The only tomato I grew this year was this red grape, and it has been very prolific. 

I have huge, fat milkweed pods this year! 

That's my sage bed, taken on one of the rainy days we had.  

There's little Pip on the front porch of the big hen house.... Sunday morning, she squatted down when she came out, and kind of sat there for a minute.  I looked when she moved and she had stopped, laid an egg, and then went on down the steps! 

Everyone try to get through the heat-rain-smoke as best you can... fall is coming! 


Sunday, August 13, 2023

Days of Rain

Last week,  I posted about the fact we had been sweltering through a hot summer, as so many of you are this year. 

This week, we suffered again, but... we have had 3 inches of rain since Thursday!  Two, today, from a storm early this morning and then another this afternoon.  We have a storm warning for tonight, too.  I am supposed to have a construction company here this week to start doing some work on the house, so I am not sure what this means, but I am so glad to have the extra rain. 

This happened in a storm three weeks ago.  Ben tried to get it down, but no tugging would do it.  If you look on the left, you will see one branch is totally dead, but two are still hanging secure.  One has dropped down almost to the ground now, and I am mowing around it, and yes, I am careful.  I am hoping if we do get the additional storm tonight, there will be some movement while no one is under it to get hurt. 

Look who came back this week!  (Yes, that's the ram in the foreground... impressive!) 

Nugget, who was formerly mine, was born here and she is heavy with lamb. 
It is so good to look out in the morning and see them all grazing. 

The length of time they will be here now will depend on the grass... but this rain surely helped. 

They made quick work of the weeds in the pen.  

I have let the chickens over on the "house side" of the yard several times this week.  
I looked out to see Singleton, the most dominant rooster, on the porch one afternoon. 
Singie was the lone chick that hatched under his mama. 
He is five this year, and more dominant than his brother, Buddy, the other big rooster. 

I looked out one morning to see Bob staring up at the feeder. 
There was a squirrel perched up there eating, not knowing how close Bob was. 
(or maybe knowing full well!) 

Bob was actually standing on his hind feet stretched out against the pole, but got down when he caught movement in the window where I was. 

I finally went out and called Bob, and the squirrel ran off. 

It's bad enough that I'm always running out to rescue birds from Bully. 

Here was one out here today, while the cats were all inside sleeping. 

Don't look now, friends, but the next holiday is upon us! 
I walked into the commissary at Fort Leavenworth this week to see them setting up the Halloween displays. 

I actually am going to confess that I went to Sam's for cat food today, and 
looked at all the Halloween creatures that lit up and talked, but did not buy anything.  I DID, however, buy the first two Christmas toys for the little ones for this year.  I am limiting the three great-grands to three each, and buying them early, as my hard rule is NO CHARGING GIFTS.  I have followed this rule for years with great success. 

I have one for each of the first two.  

I had just unwrapped this rocker I got at Tractor Supply when I took this picture. 
I have wanted a rocker on the porch for so long... and the wood ones were always expensive. 
This was reasonable, on sale... it is just a tad too high for me, but is comfortable and I rock Bob in it. 
I found him asleep in it today. 

There are mama and the three babies on the front porch of the big hen house the other night. 

And here they are scavenging in the barn.  When the weather is so hot, 
I leave the door open for the two cats that live in there.  They have a fan, too. 
I leave a tiny pile out for the cats when I take the food up at night, you see the raccoons are eating it.  Mama does not let the littles have any if she wants it, that one on the right is begging her. 

A friend of mine with a large farm told me her electric bill was 690.00 this week, she has fans running in all her buildings, two fans dedicated to old horses, fans in her chicken houses, etc.  I am planning on mine being between 4 and 500 dollars, because the fans have run almost non-stop, plus the air in the house.  I do have it cycling off and on, though, and try to keep it high enough to be comfortable but low enough to be tolerable. 

Here is my little Wanda crossing the porch at night... of "her" hen house.  One morning of rain this week was chilly, and I found her curled up in a nest box for the first time.  The next three days were awful, though, and I think she goes under the little hen house to escape. 
She will sleep inside the big hen house this winter, as she did last winter. 
Her eyes are looking a little rheumy again, so a trip to the vets may be in her near future. 

Here I am, caught by the camera on the porch of the hen house, doing what I feel like I did all week long... mowing... I got almost the whole yard done before the rain today.  I swear to you that I mowed last Saturday and Sunday, and by Wednesday it was like a hay field again! 

I didn't get that cat food in quite early enough! 

That's Bob.  This is a miracle. 

That's Coco, also a miracle... who HATES BOB. 

These two could not care less. 

Oh yes, he is the King! 

(see little Wanda behind him?) 

The Drama! 

Have a good week, friends.  I know so many of you are coping with fires and floods, and terrible, terrible weather.  I pray for all of you, daily.