Thursday, August 04, 2011

Coming Back...

I have made these half hearted attempts to blog again, remember when I used to write so diligently?
But I keep loosing focus, get caught up in every day life, that I don't seem to find time to fit in Bloggerland. But I'm gonna try to make more of an effort to write at least a few lines more regularly! Talk soon! A farm update is MUCH needed!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Springtime Goings On....

Spring here in Kentucky can be summed up in one word and I could end my post easily....RAIN. But if you dig a little deeper you could add STORM to that list, then FOG, and when you probe more you would begin to peel back layers of unwanted overabundance weather and find the beauty of the season still. Baby's are still being born and with that said, Patty should be about 3 weeks due to deliver. BUT this is our first time with a little Jersey and we are so used to our Angus that we just cant tell if she is bred or not. We could call in the Vet but hate to spend the money for one little cow. I mean, she shows all the signs, but she is so tiny, and her baby will be almost half the size of our Angus calves so her signs of being pregnant are so much more subtle. SO to be on the safe side, we brought over the little bull that she was supposed to have been bred with when we got her for a few weeks. So far, she hasnt gone in heat (or whatever you call it for a cow) so this is a good sign that she is gonna calve soon! I keep watching and they are more buddies than lovers at this point! He is tiny compared to our Angus bulls!
And being tiny didnt serve him well last night, tiny with a big bull attitude doesnt mix well. Little Bull (thats what we'll call him since he isnt ours and has no name) was a bottle fed calf, and just realized he is a bull and has something to prove. Very friendly fella to us "Hoo-mans", but gotta watch him when another bull is near, he starts thinking he has to show he is big stuff! For a week now him and the Angus bull have been showing themselves through the fence at each other, throwing dirt and heads around, bellerin' like none other. You can see where they have been pacing back and forth. Last night when Doug came back from the barn feeding, T-Bone (our Angus) finally decided he'd had it with Little Bulls taunting, and lifted the gate separating them off its hinges and he and the cows came on into the lot with Little Bull and Patty. Well the 2 bulls immediately began to fight and in less than a minute T-Bone had Little Bull t-boned into a corner with his rump in the air and had Doug not seen them and asked if the cows were supposed to be in there with Little Bull and Patty, and Norm not run out there as fast as he did to break up the fight....T-Bone would have surely killed Little Bull in no time flat. Little Bull is can see in the pictures that he is barely taller than Patty and she is smaller than a heifer even.....and much thinner boned. Little Bull wouldn't have stood a chance. Now what I would like to know is why T-Bone, the big bull he is, would stop trying (and almost succeeding) to kill Little Bull, when Norm runs up and hits him with a stick???? Okay yeah the stick breaks over top of him, but really it wasnt much bigger than a tobacco stick....and T-Bone stops fighting and runs to the opposite side of the lot....tell me what is the reasoning there in a bulls mind? He will fight another animal much bigger than Norm with a stick???? Go figure? Funny really.
I've been back to taking pictures more regularly than I had been the last 8 months and it feels so good to do something I love. I love the camera Norm got me for Christmas, a Sony H20. But I'm still coveting a digital SLR to take more professional pictures. What I would give to make a profession out of photography and take classes to learn how. Here are a few I've taken of Spring around the farm and some comments about the Goings on...
Sunset On The Neighboring Farm
What A Dandy Day It Was!
Turkey everywhere this spring! We saw 7 on this morning we were checking on the cattle!
Little Timothy has become quite the hunter! His sister Clover - hmmmm - not sure if she is hunting or not, she shows NO prey drive at all! She does love to sit and watch the chickens and finds them fascinating, more like she is wondering why she cant be friends with them rather than why mom wont let her get in and eat them.
Patty - several weeks ago, thinking as usual the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
The 3 amigos! King has been doing well, but the last few days has begun to feel poorly again. All four hooves suddenly became bruised ???? Cannot figure out how or why that happened? It was just there one day??? Any takers on that? He is eating good still, was defending his food like he used to, but then when he started to feel bad again, he began to let them push him off his hay. I have had to give him pain meds because of his hooves and he is limping, and I'm worried that it will aggravate his ulcer once again, so keeping a very close eye on him. His eyes once again so pain and he seeks comfort. Its been raining cats and dogs and hippos from the heavens every day for almost 3 weeks, if its not pouring, its drizzling, so spending any time working with and spending time with the horses is rare right now. His health is a seesaw that is teetering constantly and I never know when that balance is gonna be upset. Some days I'm optimistic and I guess, pretend, he is My Boy once again, then there are those days I dread to go outside, and he becomes the polar opposite - My Old Man, and I'm afraid to look and see if he is standing or not or what I could find that morning. Its become habit when I walk out the door, pull into the drive, going down the road past the house - too look into the field and make sure I can see him, know where he is, and make sure he is up, standing, and alive. What a relationship it has become. Having an elderly horse, with special needs, when sick, can be emotionally consuming.
Here is Patty again...apparently I loaded my pics out of order, see she looks like her belly is hanging low, anyone with Jerseys think she looks about 4 weeks from calving in this picture? I should take one from behind her, it looks like there is a calf resting on once side of her belly. But now that Little Bull is in with her I'm not going in, you have to watch him too close and I was warned against getting in with him, so no go.
Here is Lilly....we decided against keeping Lilly, Patty's first calf, she was not the temperament we wanted, and she just wouldnt gentle down. She was on a high horse constantly and was always confronting me. Bye Bye Lilly Pad! My heart wasnt good decision made. She was a cute little bugger....and funny to watch with her little attitude!
Here is little Levi and Massey. Massey was a lot like Oliver, I almost kept Massey, but we decided to send him on to the stock yards this week as well. This picture was taken a few months ago but I love it!
Beautiful Jack! The Terrible Two's have eluded our toddler! What a great horse he is becoming! Smarter than anyone would have ever expected that day Norm called and told me "You may hate me or you may love me for this, but I got you something..." Yeah I loved him for it!
Some more Photography practice...

This is the pond down the road in the little town of Stephensburg. It consist of about 3/4 a mile and most people dont even know they have even entered or left a town when they drive through! Basically consist of a gas station, church, and homes. The church boast these two ponds, the smaller (the one in the picture here) was the old car wash long before the modern day car wash was born.
The day I took the picture of the railroad tracks on the way to take Doug to school, I took the picture of our heifers across the street. The fog was finally beginning to lift and the sun was just beginning to shine through. You can KINDA see the sun on the heifer to the left on her really was a pretty scene, I took this standing at the end of the drive way with just the road between us, thats how thick the fog was...
AHHHHH! First fishing of the year! Doug, Leah, and Neil went fishing. Doug caught one, Leah none, and Neil found the hole all the fish were in and didnt share the spot with anyone! So Leah spent her time with my camera and got some great pictures, and got a picture of Doug with his lone fish he caught. Both the kids are getting so good at their own photography skills and really enjoy it.
This is the "Milt Cabin"...named for the people who lived there, relatives of Norms, long ago. I wish I knew more history, something I'll have to look into. I love this cabin.
A new baby and its momma
FOOD! Being let into another pasture of greener grass! Well not really greener but anything on the other side of another fence to a cow is greener to them. Right now everything is green...silly cows. I love the white cow in the front, her body language and facial expression says it all! Pure bliss!
Found while a walk in the woods! I took many pictures of butterfly's this morning, but this seems to be everyones favorite....
I just like this next one...
Working on gaining Buck's trust. I'm hoping to ride Buck one day. He is our Rocky Mountain, 6 yr old, and very un-trusting horse. Why? NO REASON! Not a day in his life has he ever been treated badly. He just was never worked with, so its lack of confidence. He has always been in Molly's shadow, and needs to come to his own. I gain ground and then I do something wrong (who knows what I do) and I loose it....Its learn as I go. Its never the horse thats wrong, its the human, so I have to figure out how he learns, speaks, and loves. I'm trying to gain Gyspy's love and trust too. Gypsy has been a rock in my life when I needed her, BUT, she is reserved and doesnt want human interaction unless she is being fed. Just like King was when I got him. She is not as closed off and what I call "dead" in the eyes, there is still life there and an interest that peers at you from behind that wall, its not sealed off, but that wall is there that I must tear down. Buck has no walls, just fear and lack of control and confidence he must overcome. Trust issues. I have the same issues I must overcome with him. He cant over come his until I get a handle on mine first. Then I can learn to speak his language and we can get it together as one. Same with Gypsy..two totally different individual's here, wow what a challenge! I'm eager to take this on!!!! RAIN GO AWAY PLEASE!!!!!
Do you see those eyes!!!! Aren't they beautiful!!!!???? He wants to love me, he is so interested in this little me standing there before him, he just doesnt know what I want, or what to do!
Mothers Day 2010
What a great Mothers Day this year...the best I think I've ever had!
Leah hit the nail on the head this year! I love to play in the dirt and get my hands and feet dirty! The kids are the same! I dont think Leah wears shoes 90% of the time in the warm summer months, myself included! This year, knowing how badly I've been wanting new flower beds out front for 3 years, I got my wish! Norm and the kids got me a bunch of perennials and Norm tilled the yard in front of the porch! The kids and I spent the day planning the landscape and planting the flowers! Here are some pictures....dont get too bored...more stories after the pictures!


Norm got me a Rose Tree and a Rose bush

(Salvia shot from above)

Foxglove - probably my FAVORITE of them all!!!!
Here is the finished flowerbed! I LOVE IT! (minus the black mulch...its been raining so as soon as it quits I'll add that, and where the 2 lawn chairs are sitting there will be another flowerbed)

This next one is an ornamental has a 2' wide spread and is Leahs of mine too, its totally cool!

My herbs got out of control early this year, I dont know what happened to them, I think I should have cut them back last Fall because I looked out and one day they were just there with flowers! This is my Cilantro...pretty flowers, but no good now to me!

And back to herbs (it wouldnt let me move my pictures?) here is my Basil. Very disappointed in myself for doing something wrong. I have had them planted for 2 years and this didnt happen to me last year!

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures I've taken in a long time! (if ever!)

CHICKEN/DUCK UPDATE! Growing like weeds! I swear to you, every morning when I go out to feed and water the birds, they have grown! Almost all of them, except for the 6 little bantams, are all now bigger than Pepper was. They are 8 and 7 weeks old. (when are the ones I'm putting in the freezer ready to get plucked????) Most of them have the funniest personalities! Some have no personality....and I have my favorites. They all know when I walk out of my house...I swear they take turns watching for me! They know when I have treats in my hand and you should see the look of disappointment on their beaky faces when they see I dont. There are those that refuse to believe when I dont and have to double check me to make sure I'm not hiding any (sometimes I do for my favorite birds shhhh dont tell the others)
The funniest of ALL the birds are my ducks, I LOVE to watch the Ducks...they hear me before they see me and immediately yell for their breakfast, lunch and dinner (doesnt matter if they have food already, they just quack at me out of habit I think) Maybe they are just gripping at something I did who knows. Its fun to catch them and hold them...they look at you with this puzzling look on their face...and I think they secretly like it, maybe not, but they seek attention each time they see us so they must like it. We have had storms and lots of rain and the birds dont mind the rain at all, even when it stormed severely I couldnt get them in the coop. I'm sure by the time the hail came they finally went in tho, I felt bad for the ducks, they have a couple dog houses to go into and under the ramp to the coop and a lean-too, but I cant make them go in or stay there and I wasnt staying out there to see. Afterwards, taking pictures (I love to take pictures after a rain, the lighting is perfect and the rain drops make for awesome pictures too!) This is what I found in the coop! The ladies having a heated discussion!
They're are a few chick's that have become favorites. One is Salt. Salt? Yep, see Pepper who recently died, was my first chicken. My favorite, who would nestle in my arms and "sing" and "talk" to me. So when the little Barred Plymouth Rock (same as Pepper) started doing the same Doug decided her name needed to be like Peppers, so Salt it is! Its not majestic, classy, etc. But knowing the origin of her name, even those words pale to describe its worth in our eyes! Here she is after I sat down and she promptly hopped in my lap, nestled down and took a nap for 30 minutes! Just like my Pepper used to do.
Now Rosemary...Oh Rosemary...a Cornish Cross that we weren't planning on keeping any of, but Miss Bossy full of curious personality won us over. This is Leah's chicken, who by the way, fits Leah most perfectly. I remember when my daughter was in preschool and I'd go pick her up and watch her before I'd let her know I was there, playing and she would be bossing those other kids and manipulating them with such finesse and skill that a 3 year old should not possess! She was always the teachers favorite, well beyond her years, and still to this day relates better to adults than she does to those her own age. Once the teacher told me (with as much pride and joy that I had to laugh at the teacher just as much as I did at Leah) that Leah wanted a tricycle that a little boy was riding, no matter the boy was riding it. But he wouldnt give it up, even with her reasoning that he already rode it around the playground once, it was HER turn. She tried to take it from him and even stood in front of him holding the handle bars and he would not get off no matter what, words were exchanged and to no avail, for once Leah did not win. The teacher told me she sulked off, wheels turning in her mind, hands on her hips, and eyes squinted as she stared at that boy riding around on that tricycle that SHE should be riding trying to plan just how she was going to get it from him, when the plan finally popped in her head. She confidently stomped over to a big ball with her head high, smile on her face and shoulders straight and began to bounce the ball high and hard right in his path. When he got to her she said this: "I love this ball!" "Look how high this ball bounces" "This is the best ball" "You cant have my ball" - and holds it and starts to walk away. The little boy immediately wanted the ball she said he cant have, and she said NO! He whined, and got mad said it was HIS turn. She told him this. "I'll give you my ball if you let me have the tricycle" the trade happened, she threw the ball down and happily rode off around the playground! Rosemary is very much like Leah at age 3....bossy! Rosemary has a love/hate relationship with Levi, she would love to peck his eyes out I think and hates it that the fence is between him and that he wont stick his nose closer!
This is either Lucy, Leonard, or Leroy...I dont know which because I dont have them banded yet to tell the difference. I have 2 males and one female Pekin. And the Mallard, well we know we have 3 Drakes and we are thinking one female because it is more drab, however the feathers are just too colorful for me to be sure its female, but not enough to show its a Drake....identity crisis?
We had named the Mallards but I hated the names, here is one of the Drakes. The names were Esther, Abraham, and something else, I couldnt remember them at all, and they just didnt fit and not knowing for sure what they are just makes it not working for me! They got big so fast, the Mallards are almost full size now, and the Pekins too!
Ahhh my favorite bird! Miss Henny Penny! A Black Sexlink! She is like Salt, in fact I had her, Salt, and a little Orpinton sleeping in my lap the other day! Usually its just Penny and Salt tho. She is gonna be such a pretty bird!
They LOVE treats! Doug loves to feed treats! They love to steal treats too! LOVE the look on Dougs face when this Rhode Island Red stole a bite last week!!! The birds are 8 weeks old now!
Here is Douglas and his bird she isnt sleeping, she is looking for something to eat, she is constantly pecking things she thinks might be food until she is satisfied its not food then and only then will she go to sleep
on your arm, lap, shoulder, where ever she lands or you put her.
The coop is finished, the yard is cleaned up yet tho so ignore all the wood. Its done nothing but rain, and on days its not rained, picking up the scrap lumber has been low on the list of things that needs to be done. But the coop is great, and the birds are some very happy chicks! We also finished the yard, got fly netting on the top so no hawks can get in and birds or ducks can fly out. I can rest now with ease. I leave the chicken door open so they come and go as they please and they have their routine now. Its funny to see the different personalities in each of them! HOWEVER....I am SO ready for the ones that are going in the freezer to be in the freezer. And to add to the flock diff breeds of birds that I'll be keeping as full time flock members! I am anxious to get more and different birds!
I had really hoped to get more hens from the bantams that I got but when you get straight run, you just dont know what your getting and I only got 2 hens out of 8 of the birds. Mari took one of the hens and one of the roos. I do have one bird that has a comb like the other roosters, however its not like the other roosters, its comb is MUCH smaller and not as red, so maybe it is a hen, I just cant tell at this age. Sometimes the comb grows faster in some hens and since it was a mixed lot of bantams it could be that its a diff breed so I have to wait and see. But here is one my favorite Roo's..he has started crowing, and is hilarious to watch! I dont know if he is one that I'll keep or not, but he is one of the 2 that I like so far! As he matures his cheeks will become even more puffy. I wish this picture showed his feet, they are so feathery!
So thats the goings on here at the farm.....