Saturday, March 29, 2014

Do You See What I See?































What do you see?
I think I see a coyote.

There are no stray dogs in our neighborhood.
I caught a blurry photo, night before last, of what looked like a long tail and legs that belonged to a coyote.
Luckily, that tub is not my watering station.
It belongs to a neighbor several acres over.
Of course, who's to say if this fellow makes the rounds and wanders my way every night---or rather wanders the way of my chicken coop.

I always worry what would happen if I accidentally left the coop door open one night.
I even worry if I'm not here at dark to lock it up.

Oh well, those are the worries that you take on if you move to the habitat of a predator of any sort and plan to have prey animals among your menagerie.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Still Here. Going Crazy.

Let me start by saying this is a post about a VERY
"First World Problem"
I've never been good at spending money on myself--ever.
Eric spent years convincing me that there are two things you should ALWAYS spend good money on, no matter what.
Shoes and undergarments.
That said, I'm struggling with spending money on something far more frivolous than shoes and underwear.
A whole boatload of money.
On a barn.
The funny thing is, I don't even have any quotes yet.
We're struggling with design and size.
Eric originally asked that I pick out a barn that could look very much like our house on the exterior (stone and stucco).
He is not a fan of the metal barns that are so prevalent these days.
photo credit: applevalleybarns.com
If you have one, don't take offense, please!

That meant that we would have to have a wooden structure and adjust some design portions (ie: sliding doors) to work around having a stone base.
I've spent two weeks looking at barns that might fit our needs, inside and out.
Found one (see above).
Have a date with a contractor to come out and talk numbers with us.

Yesterday Eric and I went for a walk and saw a metal barn (not the one below) that had some things added on to make it look more like something that would belong with our house.

photo credit: newhorse.com
And so, I begin again.
I think.
I don't know.
Sheesh, I'm really not good at this.

Soon Eric will be out of town--a lot.
He got a new job.
I'll write about that more later.
The point is, I was hoping to have this well underway before his new job started.
I can't be calling him on a business trip in the middle of the day to ask if he wants this kind of stone or that kind of stone because the contractor needs to know--right now!

Anyway.
My first world problem is making me crazy.
I know I should acknowledge what a blessing this problem is.
That we are able to afford this.

Maybe I'll go buy myself some nice leather shoes instead.
They're more practical.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Have You Ever Done This?


I was unloading the dishwasher.
Many of my cups had water in the tops (bottoms??).
I grabbed a tea towel to soak it up.


photo credit: Target stores

The tea towel was sour, so I took it to the laundry room.
While walking to the laundry room, I looked out on a side porch and wondered for the 100th time if the potted ficus tree had made it through the winter.

Not my ficus.  Mine was outdoors
photo credit:krrb.com
I went outside and gave a few branches a bend and twist.  
Not conclusive enough.  
They didn't break sharply, but we've had rain recently.
I scraped the trunk with my fingernail in a few places.
The bark came free easily.  No green underneath.
Conclusion: Dead ficus tree.
Nice day equals "This will only take me a minute.  I'll pull it up and haul it out to the brush pile.  Then I'll return to the dishwasher."

On the way to the brush pile, I decided that the root ball and 5 foot tree might be fun for the chickens in their run.  I can put it in the brush pile after they've decimated it.

While in the chicken run, the amazing weather makes me think of spring.
Which makes me think of the fact that all my gear (extension cords, 2 lamps, a sheet, a shower curtain and several zip ties) need to be removed.  The days of 20* weather are over.
Yes, the my chicken coop looks like the Beverly Hillbillies built it--inside and out.  
Don't judge me for being creative. :)

photo credit: Stromburgschickens.com

The heat lamps were filthy with dust.  I decided that I'd put them away clean instead of dirty.
I ended up back in the laundry room where this all started to get an old rag so I could wet-wipe the bells of the lamps and the extension cords.

All my chicken warming paraphernalia is now clean and put away.  

Back to the dishwasher.
With a stop by the computer to tell this story.
Oh, and I watered a tree while I was out by the chicken coop.  
There was a wheel barrow full of water. 
Had to do something with it.

Do you ever do anything like this?
Start something and end up doing a half dozen other things instead?

Do I have ADD?
Squirrel!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

What Do You Think?


I'm not sure if 4 acres can be considered a 'ranch'?
I think 'farm' implies growing crops and 'ranch' implies growing livestock.
Maybe it's a Texas thing?
Maybe it's a "whatever sounds best" thing?

Here's what Webster's dictionary has to say on the matter.

1 Farm  noun, often attributive  /FARm/
: a piece of land used for growing crops or raising animals

1 Ranch  noun  /'ranCH/
: a large farm especially in the US where animals such as cattle, horses and sheep are raised.
: a farm for a special kind of crop or animal

Looks like the folks at Webster can't make up their mind.
I'll just stick with my first instinct and go with 'Ranch'.

Besides, I have two beloved donkey owning friends that have Farm in their name and I know that neither one considers what's growing on their place the primary reason for the name.
Justina and Don at Morning Bray Farm
and
Danni at Critter Farm

Then there is Carson with 'Ranch' in the name of her place at 7MSN Ranch.  I don't think she could grow very many crops at her place anyway.

And So.....
We shall sit firmly on the fence between
PoTAto and PoTAHo
ToMAto and ToMAHto
as far as definitions are concerned.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

See If You Can Figure Out This Puzzle



____________________________



Donkeys Over Diamonds

Eric came up with the new name for what will be our official 'ranch' by accident.
We've had many discussions about many things that have occurred in our lives in the last year.
I'll share more at the end of the month when things are official.

No, we didn't win the lottery.
But our discussion went something like this.

Eric: Will you finally let me buy you a diamond for your wedding ring?
Me: No, I don't want diamonds.
Eric: You're really choosing donkeys over diamonds?
Me: (big grin) Yes, yes I am.

So, I'll be coming up with an official logo.  A Texas sort of logo.
One with a couple donkeys on top of diamond shapes.

The donkeys will hopefully come from Peaceful Valley Donkey rescue.
They'll be miniature donkeys, as my neighbors won't like me anymore if I get full size donkeys with full size donkey brays.

First, a fence and a barn.
Updates throughout the spring and summer as we progress.







Wednesday, March 5, 2014

These Things Happen

One of my little Australorp pullets died.
I remember thinking when I brought her home that she was only acting about 98% compared to her sisters.
I'd think that she wasn't quite as active and wonder if she was sick and then she'd race around like all the others.

Chicks 'race' by the way.
They don't walk anywhere.
It's like they have tiny rockets attached to their backsides.


Anyway, she's the first chick I've ever lost.
I'm not sad, just disappointed.
Something was obviously wrong with her from the start.
Sometimes you just don't know what went wrong.

I've always been very practical when it comes to my chickens.
You can't take chicks to the vet.  
You really can't take grown chickens to the vet, either.
I realize that these things happen.  
Chickens die.  
That doesn't mean I won't be keeping a close eye on little Rosa's sisters though.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Birds of a Feather???

I was certain I had blogged about this phenomenon before, but cannot find any record of it.

If you'll look below, you'll see that the chicks are together according to their breed.

(Left to Right) 
Eleanor and Ruth are Barred Rocks, Amelia and Marie are Speckled Sussex, Julia and Jane are Brown Sex-Links, and Rosa and Harriot are Australorps.

Most often, when they are moving about in their brooder, they stick to together in this fashion.

I might postulate that it is because they were shipped to the feed store according to their breed and thus might know/recognize each other.

That's a good theory, but the two that look like chipmunks (Amelia and Marie) were in "mixed pullets" box with 50 other chicks.  They came in with many different breeds and kept with those breeds until I picked them.

The others were shipped according to breed to their feed store, but then mixed in with other breeds of an opposing color (say, yellow chicks and black chicks--easy to tell apart for the caretaker at the store).

In addition to all that, I am supposing that chickens have friends. 
Very anthropomorphic of me.

I say I was certain that I had blogged about this before, because I have seen this very behavior in my current/former chickens.  In my first batch of hens, they stuck together according to breed--always.  Even when out free-ranging.  
My poor, single Easter Egger, Penny, was always alone and was at the bottom of the pecking order until all the others died.
Nobody wanted to be her friend.

So what is this behavior about?
Do you have chickens? Do they do this too?
I'm thinking someone could do a Science Project on this, or a Master's Thesis.
Let me know what you find out if you do.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Where in the World is Enugu?

Nope, I didn't rename a chick or get any new animals.
Nor did any of my current animals go missing.
I do not have anyone or anything in my life named Enugu until now.


I have a little widget (look to your left) on my blog that tracks visitors and where they came from.
This morning, I see that I had a visitor from Enugu---thus the "Where in the World...." title.
Enugu (pronounced ay Noo goo) is in Nigeria.
In Africa!!
I don't know how long the person that popped in from Nigeria stayed, but I'm fascinated.
How cool is it that someone from half way around the world dropped by, if even for a second?

So many folks, including myself, say that the internet will be the downfall of us all.
It's a time waster.
It has so many, many bad things on it.
Both are true.

But just like humanity, there are good folks and bad folks.
There is good on the internet too.
I wouldn't be nearly as smart (and annoying) if it weren't for Google.
I would never have had a great New Mexican adventure.
I wouldn't see Jenna or my nieces and nephews faces with Skype or Facetime.
I wouldn't have been able to research my mom's ALS and feel informed as to what was going on with her disease.
I wouldn't have been able to reconnect with old friends and make new friends on Facebook.
I wouldn't be able to watch videos of kittens or catch missed episodes of Downton Abbey or The Big Bang Theory.
I wouldn't be able to send out or receive, instantly, prayer requests from friends and family.
A friend would not have been able to keep in touch with her husband while he spent a month in the interior small towns of India for work.

My list is silly and serious.
All of it is true.
If it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't know that someone from Enugu, Nigeria had visited my blog today.
Have you had a good experience or a bad experience with the thing we call the internet?
Has the World Wide Web served you well?




For my visitor from Enugu---I'm a bit jealous of your forecast for rain in the next week.  
However, I'm not ready for those temperatures yet.

If you see this post, please respond.  I'd like to say hello.