Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ducks for Breakfast and Rude People

That got your attention huh?  You wondered: "did she eat ducks for breakfast?"   No, but I do have ducks around the farm, and I get a buttload of wild ducks that stop by every morning and evening for their meals.  They are Black-Bellied Whistling Wood ducks and they are cuter than ever.  They don't quack like my white Pekin duck (you know the duck, like the one in the commercial - AFLACK!).  No , these little ducks actually have a whistling call.  They also are pretty colorful, with orangey pink legs and beaks.  Their bodies are mixes of green, brown, black and white pattern.  My Pekin duck loves it when they visit and gets all excited running around them quacking and head butting (I think this is some kind of ducky communication that is akin to flirting and showing readiness to mate).   I managed to get a video clip of the ducks a couple of months ago fighting over the breakfast grains and thought I would share.  It's very entertaining around here at feeding times!  (Turn your volume up so you can adequately hear the ducky voices).

The second part of this post is kind of a rant about rude and immature people.  Me and a few friends lease spaces at a local antiques/resale shop named Dixieland Antiques and Resale (in Alvin, Texas if anyone wants to drop in for a visit!).  This afternoon was a day that 3 of the rudest dealers I've ever encountered moved out (Thank God!).  These 3 individuals have been causing a great deal of problems at the shop for a long time.  They were constantly quibbling over other dealers at the store and gossiping out loud and rudely while customers were in the store.  Left a bad taste in the mouth for the customers, some of who commented to the store managers about it.  These 3 people bad mouthed any other dealer they "didn't like", which was quite a few, and were actually the problem makers themselves.... you know those kind of people I'm sure.  Well, today, while I was at the shop moving into a bigger space, these 3 people were packing up and moving out to another store.  They were bad mouthing to every customer that was trying to have a nice shopping experience, saying nasty things about the shop and trying their mightiest to ensure the customers never came back.  HOW RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL to the remaining dealers, and how IMMATURE can you be people?  Give it a rest why don't cha?  Just get your stuff and get out if you're not happy, but don't try to slander the shop to it's customers.  I kept my mouth shut for the most part until one particular comment was made about the "back stabbing shop dealers", all while customers were milling about, and so I simply said out loud: "hey, not all of us are back stabbers".    While I'm glad they are finally gone, there is a lesson here that I want to pass on..... there are always going to be nasty people around, but in the end, the good ones get their just reward.  Nasty people will always get what's coming to them eventually.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Back Porch Rooster

Doesn't everyone have a back porch rooster? No? Well, today's blog is about my back porch rooster. His name is Roosty Roo. I know. Original, but hey I try to keep it simple around here. I stopped naming the hens a long time ago. Too many of them, and they look alike, so I can't tell them apart anyway.

Back to my back porch rooster. How did he become a back porch rooster you ask? Well, last summer I noticed one day that he came up lame. I wondered if he had bumble foot, but I couldn't see that anything looked amiss, and his foot kept getting bigger and bigger and he kept getting lamer and lamer. I finally relented and took him to the vet. That was an expensive experience. They did all kinds of tests and x-rays and said: "Well, we can't really tell you why, but it looks like he's always going to have this swollen foot; but we could do surgery on it and scrape out all the swelling that has turned to a cottage cheese like substance". Oh yeah, I say? And how much will that be and what are the risks and recovery, etc. "Oh, it will be around $800 and he'll have a big, open wound that will eventually heal over with time. You'll need to doctor it everyday and change bandages, but that will only be for a couple of months". UUUUUHHHH, I don't think so! I love my rooster and all but.....

We finally settled on us giving him twice daily tubings of pain medication and antibiotics. Plus, soaking in epsom salts. The vet taught us how to tube him without killing him.... or so we thought. Anyway, after a few days of tubing the poor guy, he was so overwrought with it that one morning he decided to put up a fight when I tubed him.  Right about the time I was stuffing that tube down his throat. You have to be careful that it goes in the right hole at the back of the throat because chickens and birds have 2 holes: one to the esophagus and one to the lungs. Get the medication in the wrong hole and you force liquid down into the lungs. Of course, the chances of them dying of pneumonia then is pretty high. I managed to get half of the liquid down the wrong hole that morning. I thought he was a goner for sure! I called the vet crying asking if I had just killed my rooster. They said if he is breathing without gurgling too bad that maybe he had a chance. He didn't seem to be gurgling though (OK, maybe a little), so we just watched him carefully for the next couple of days, and he lived. BUT, I decided then and there - NO MORE TUBING! If this rooster lives, then we are going to find another approach. He lived. The vet tried convincing me he would be in pain and I should just put him down. I had already spent an ungodly amount of money on him at the vet, so I wanted to give him a chance and see if he improved at all. He did.

I now live with the rooster on my back porch at night. He limps around during the day in his chicken yard, separated from the main flock and the big, bad alpha rooster. I alternate putting a couple of girls in with him each day so he feels like a rooster again. But Roosty Roo gets around pretty good. He is even back into mounting his girls, just not like he used to be able to do. A little awkward, but he seems to be happy enough. He doesn't seem to be in pain, and has accepted the way he is. He is pretty special to me. Every night, I go put his girls to bed with the main flock, and tell him it's time to come inside for the night. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
He waddles up to the house with me and goes into his "nightie night crate".
He gets his treat for the night (usually some scratch with some meal worms mixed in), and when I close his door on the crate he always tells me "night night" in his chicken chuckle voice.
 Photobucket He has a fantastic crow; you should hear it in an enclosed porch!   He always seems to be in great spirits and is quite alert and has gained a lot of his weight back (he did lose some at the beginning of all this).  He was a free bird I got several years ago, and the people I got him from had no idea how old he was.  I think he is pretty old, and the vet actually agreed with me on that.  He is a mix of Ameracauna and Golden Laced Wyandotte.  He's very pretty and very big.  Anyway, he's a good boy and lets me pick him up and never tries to peck at or attack me.  I love putting him in my lap and stroking his head and back feathers while he takes a nap, comfy as you please.  He's a cool bird.  He would get beat up by the alpha rooster if I didn't separate them.  So..........that's why I now have a back porch rooster.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

Good night all !

Monday, March 28, 2011

Community Poop and A Quick Roll in the Sand

Sorry I've been away so long. I think I mentioned in my last post that I had lots and lots of chores going on.... I got a little overwhelmed with the gardening, landscaping, setting up my new antique shop space, doing all the Spring activities with the animals and so on. Throw in some family birthdays, moving my daughter and grand daughter into their own place, emptying out storage space, and well, talk about March Madness! I've had my share this month.

Now I'm back and I pledge to posting something every day again, or a least several times a week anyway!

So, what's been happening in my life? Well, I finally got all my gardening planted. I'll have some more updated pictures soon, but for now, below is a little look mid stride at some of what I was doing:
Garden plots
I now have all my fruits and vegetables planted.... I have tomato, peppers, cantaloup, lots of herbs, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, as well as pear, apple, peach and orange trees. I still need to get my potatoes and rhubarb planted though.

In addition to the garden plots and trees, I was overly ambitious about wanting a nicely landscaped area to the one side of my house. See, I had purchased all these plants and bushes and landscaping stuff, and it just had to get done. It's finally coming together and looking much more appealing to the eye when I drive up to my house. More eye popping colors instead of the basic green and brown. I can't wait to see everything mature and blooming! All in good time. Here's a look at the beginning of the project. Again, more finished photos coming soon:

I also took some time with the animals doing all those time consuming Spring chores with them. Got all the equines vaccinnated, wormed and trimmed. Got all the fowl dusted, cleaned coops out with disinfectant after the long winter months, and other general housekeeping adventures. My one hen hatched out 2 babies, but one of them died from pasty butt I think. This is the first time I have had that happen to a chick and I don't know why or how, but it did, and I hope it wasn't something I lacked in doing for it. The hen only hatched 2 out of the 5 eggs she was setting. So only 1 surviving chick that I'm pretty sure is going to turn into a rooster. Darn it!
I also have 10 more RIR hens I have to pick up this week. I lost one of my hens last weekend to that damn Bobcat. Right in front of me and my BB too! We weren't more than 25 yards away when the cat jumped over my neighboring property fence and grabbed one of my chickens. The hen initially got away and ran into a falling apart kennel built into the side of our property, where I promptly ran over to and trapped inside. While BB ran into the house to get the gun, I was watching it and guarding the door so it couldn't get out. Just as BB came back with the gun, the dang thing found a small opening in the kennel roof and in one smooth leap, was out that hole and running through the woods. Drats! Another missed opportunity to kill the thing. He didn't get his kill, but still, I lost a good hen to his shinanigans.

I've been very good about trying to keep all the donkey and horse poop picked up in the paddock and barn, but I admit there were a couple of days that I just didn't get to that chore with everything else going on. I grabbed a picture of the "community poop" pile that the donkeys leave if I neglect to pick up poop every day. I have never inquired from other donkey owners, but if anyone out there has donkeys, can you tell me: do your donkeys poop in a community pile? or do they spread their poop out over a larger area? I have always been amazed at the intelligence of a donkey, but I have to say, I'm baffled that they would do their poops in a large pile day after day... in the same place. It's like, they roam all over my 10 acres, but hey when it's time to poop, they take the time to walk to their poop pile to leave their gift, then resume what they were doing. Weird. But I weirdly admire that about my donkeys. Does that make me weird? Probably, but we've covered that in other posts before!
Community Donkey poop

I grabbed a couple of shots of my one donkey, Doodle, doing a roll in the sand. It's always amazing to watch the horse and donkeys roll in the dirt and sand. They usually do it when they are wet from a bath and freshly groomed too. But I still love to watch them roll and then stand up and shake like a cat! Funny animals.
Rolling in the sand Photobucket Going for a roll Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Well, you can see I've been busy. Life on a farm is never dull or boring, that's for sure!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

Hey everyone, I didn't fall off the edge of the earth, I promise!  Life at the farm has been very busy for me.  Spring is in the air..... that means busy time getting gardens planted, trees planted, grasses mowed, chickens wormed and dusted, horse and donkeys vaccinated.... and the list goes on.

I did manage to get a few trees planted, and I gotta tell ya.... digging holes by hand is VERY hard work.  I have 7 trees I am planting this year:  2 apple, 1 pear, 2 peach, and 2 Poplar shade trees.  I dug 3 holes for 3 trees in one day, planted the trees, filled the holes in and built up a mulch borders.  Then I called it quits!  I was exhausted!  I will hopefully get the rest of the trees planted this weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I also have to finish planting my raspberries, blackberries, grapes, and strawberry plants.  Then I have some hydrangeas and fire bush to plant along side of my house.  I got creative with the landscape border and went with cedar window boxes.  I am planning on planting strawberries in the window boxes as my border.... I'll let you know how it works out.  The window boxes are pretty and I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.....a border and something edible in the border.    I hope I can keep the birds and chickens out of them.

In between all of the farm work and life, we helped our daughter and granddaughter move into their own apartment.  They  have been living on the farm for the last 14 months while a divorce and custody battle raged on.  I think life will now start getting back into some kind of "normal".... if there even is such a thing!

I helped a friend pick up her new horse this week.  He's a pretty boy.....he didn't load in the trailer so great, nor did he want to get off the trailer so great, but we managed.  I know my friend is going to be really happy with this new boy.  He seemed to have some really great past training, but is a little rusty.  I know my friend will have him whipped into shape in record time though! 
Trying to decide if he wants to leave the trailer.

He got a nice mouthful of yummy grass after unloading from the trailer!  His reward for being a good boy.

My daughter and granddaughter (N & R) helped me in the barn by brushing Jack and picking up poop. It is so therapeutic working in the barn and around the animals. Anyone who has animals knows how utterly wonderful they are, especially when you just spend time with them. In this picture, N & R have just had a conversation with Jack about how pretty he was, then gave him a kiss. He kissed R right back!

Then she got to go for a little lead-line ride.... see that smile?

I'm thinking about buying a pony for the grand kids....not that I need another animal, but all 3 of my girls love the horse and donkeys, and I would love to see them learn to ride. Call me crazy, but I so want my grand kids to have the horsey bug! I did all through my childhood and didn't get to have my dream of owning a horse come true until my 40's and my husbands support of my dream. I'm so lucky!

Well, off to bed..... see you tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel!