Things that go bump in the night…AND the day.

Yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day when everything you had planned gets flipped on it’s head and you realize you have to just roll with it instead of trying to control every last bit.

It also happened to be one of the most dramatic days where animals are concerned in a long time. Sometimes I think God just does stuff so that I have something to write about on this blog.

It all started as I was driving to McMinnville to teach my Thursday morning yoga class. I was driving down the long country road that leads from my house to the small town of Carlton. The fog was thick, like pea soup, and I reminded myself to slow down because this is the country and anything could dart across the road and then I’d have to live with the fact that I hit something because I wasn’t being a responsible driver.

As I turned down the windy part of the road, right before you enter civilization again, I approached a sight that struck me as unusual. As I drove by, three giant black cows stood on the side of the road grazing within inches of where my tires hit the pavement.

I continued driving, cranking my head to take in what I was observing. My first thought was, ‘that seems awful close to the road for someone to let their cows graze,” and within seconds my senses came crashing back and I realized the reality of the situation. I made a u-turn the first opportunity I had and drove back in the opposite direction. These cows weren’t put there by their owner, they had gotten out of their pasture. I knew that if I just kept driving one, if not all, of these bovid mammals would probably become roadkill. Especially with the way people drive around these parts.

Just as I drove back up to the house they were settling in front of, another women has pulled in the driveway and was already at the front door of the home. I parked and jumped out of my car to hear the woman inside tell the other woman that the cows were not hers and close the door.

Not knowing exactly what to do, we decided that we needed to get a hold of someone from the non-emergency hotline (even though in my book, this was CLEARLY an emergency).  I told her that I would drive down to the Carlton City Hall and ask them for help but first we needed to get the cows off the side of the road.

I puffed up my chest and straightened my stance so that I appeared bigger then I was and began galloping at them ,waving my hands and shouting for them to get back. Slowly,  they started to back away, every so often turning around to glare.

Once I was satisfied with where they were I told the other woman that I would head to City Hall and she said she would head to where she thought they might belong.

Once I reached City Hall I got out of my car and headed in. The woman at the front desk said that she believed she knew who they belonged to and called the non-emergency hotline and  told me that they would take care of it. Feeling satisfied with the outcome, I headed back to my car and the other women pulled up and said that she had found the owner and they were on it.

We both patted ourselves on our own backs, wished each other a nice day and got back in our cars, continuing on to our destinations.

As I was driving however I had a thought. As proud as I was from preventing potential roadkill, maybe they were trying to escape their impending doom of becoming ground beef?! Crap!

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When I got home from my class and the two meetings I had following I was standing at my kitchen sink washing the dishes that were left from last nights dinner, something that rarely happens as I can’t sleep if their are dirty dishes in the sink (thanks mom). I was going over, in my head, what I needed to get done today for work when I happened to glance up and out onto the property. The weather has been incredible here in Oregon, unlike any I have experienced since moving here two and a half years ago. The warm sun lit up the sky and the leaves the color of fire and gold.

As I was admiring this place I get to call home my grateful thoughts were disrupted by something out by the dock that sits over our pond. I squinted my eyes to get a better look. “Is that a dog?” I thought to myself. I looked around to see all three of my furry companions resting on the deck. Maddy, our brown Pitbull was sitting upright starring straight out at the pond. I leaned forward as if that would help me get a clearer view. Tthe dog-like animal turned to the side and that was when I made the realization. It wasn’t a dog however, it WAS a dog-like creature. It was a coyote!

winter-coyote-319x348

Now I’ve written about coyotes on the property before and all those stories had been exciting at the time but none were as much so as this particular day.

Usually I only see them in passing, way out by the back pasture walking the perimeter of the vineyard but today, today was different. This coyote was braver, more determined and from the looks of it, he was hungry and had his sights on my flock.

After my momentary paralysis wore off, I realized that I needed to do something. This guy was way too close for comfort. He was about 50 yards from from the electric fence. I’m sure he could taste the warm blood of my favorite sheep, Money, who was grazing just on the other side.

I quickly ran out onto the deck, once again waving my arms and screaming obscenities and insults unsuitable for most ears at the top of my lung. I took off from the deck, running down the grassy knoll that leads out to the open grassy lawn. The coyote, obviously not disturbed  by my antics, cautiously turned around and began prancing away melting into the canopy of the golden leaves that make up the vineyard. Looking back to size me up, I swear he gave me a “f-you glare” that only made me angrier.

I ran back to the barn, grabbed some wooden stakes and a hammer and jumped in our RTV and drove around the vineyard to patch up any wholes under the fence he may have gotten under. Ha ha ha, see if you get through there you little bastard, I thought to myself as I slammed down on each wooden post. Satisfied with my job, I headed back to the house to finish the dishes and press on with my day.

What felt like five minutes but was actually about and hour and a half later, I was once again at the kitchen sink (sometimes I actually DO spend all day in the kitchen!). I had been keeping pretty good tabs of my sheep and knew that they were out in the far pasture and that the goats were with them. For some reason I always feel better when the goats who have big, powerful horns are flanking my flocks side. I know they can do damage to some puny coyote.

As I just finished up chopping an onion for the beet burgers I was making for dinner I went to the kitchen sink to wash the knife. I glanced back up and out the window as I always do, just to make sure everything was okay.  I noticed something way out on the grassy knoll in the middle pasture. I tilted my head to one side, squinting my eyes again to get a better look. Obviously it’s time for me to get new glasses.

The pastures are broken into three sections which is hard to describe in writing but there is the piece of land by the barn, closest to our house and it feds back to a small forested area with a grassy knoll in front and then weaves it’s way back to the far pasture by the vineyard. There was an old tree that feel down last winter that Joel, my husband’s cousin had just chopped up and left in a huge pile out in the middle pasture. To the the left of that I could make out a silhouette of something, obviously and animal.

I headed out onto the deck to get a better look. It looked, from a distance, like one of our Jacob sheep, Doris who has two horns that curve back toward her neck. However, with the days earlier event, I decided to put on my boots and head out that way to get a better look. As soon as I hit the grassy slope that lead out to the pasture I realized exactly what it was. The coyote had somehow made it’s way INTO the pasture that was surrounded by an electric fence. At this point I flipped my shit. I took off at full speed, hurdling the electric fence with height that I will admit was pretty damn impressive. At this point the coyote stood up and turned to run into the wooded area within the pasture. “Shit, shit shit shit…f&%K, f#$k, f**K” came flying out of my mouth. I ran out to the far pasture at which point I realized my flock and the goats are way smarter then they seem as that they had gathered into a tight circle.

I pulled out my phone to call my husband. Oh, did I mention that I was, once again, home alone? Read some of my other stories from the farm to see why this is so funny.

He picked up on the second ring and I proceeded, in between gasps for air,to  tell him what was going on. He said I needed to gather all the animals and get them to the barn and to call Joel. I hung up and thankfully the sheep and goats followed me with no problems. Maybe it was the little talk I had about how their was a hungry beast ready to lung at their jugular and eat their entrails OR the fact that I have been giving them lots of treats lately, but they followed in a mad rush as I led them back to the bar.

After about an hour and one phone call to a coyote trapper for advice later, I finally got ahold of Joel and he came home from the winery to help try and find the coyote. Now, you all know that I don’t believe in killing animals. If it were up to me we would all coexist peacefully…as vegans. But this one is extremely aggressive and will most likely hang around since it knows their is fresh meat on the property. Not too mention, we have two cats, three dogs and four chickens and it’s our responsibility to protect them.

So, Joel proceeded to walk the property ‘looking’ for the coyote. After about thirty minutes and no sign of the coyote, I headed out to talk to Joel. As were were standing on the dirt road that passes the pasture, I looked up onto the grassy knoll and out darts the coyote, running back into the woods, before Joel could get a good look at where it went. The mangy bastard is taunting me now.

David got home about 30 minutes later and they both searched for about another thirty minutes to no avail. By this time it was nearing 6PM and we were hungry. We decided that the sheep and goats were smart and would stay in the barn. They knew that something was out there, they are very instinctual animals, and there was nothing more we could do tonight.

However, I had put a call into a neighbor who breeds and raises sheep knowing that they had had some experiences with coyotes. She told me there really isn’t a whole lot we can do. Coyotes are going to get on the property, they can dig under fence lines, and that our best bet was to get a mean llama with great protective instincts.

Sounds good to me! I told David the news and informed him that he really didn’t get a say and he simple said, “I know.”

Needless to say, neither of us slept well last night. We left the sliding glass door open so we could hear if anything happened out in the pasture. When first sight of morning drew near I leaped out of bed and put my boots on, walking with a quick gate out to the barn. Holding my breath I stepped over the electric fence and peered around the corner. No blood, no guts, no entrails, good sign. All accounted for and present and I let out a big sign.

So, today I’m going llama shopping. It’s never boring living on a farm, that’s for sure.

 

Lessons from Raising Farm Animals, RIP My Sweet Sweet Peter

There is no greater feeling
than to know you earned an animal’s trust.

~  Alison Stormwolf

To most people, sheep are just farm animals. Something that hang out in their pastures (if they are lucky enough to be free range), get fat, and then are butchered so that people can dine on their little chops over a candle lit dinner.

To me, sheep are so much more.

A year ago I was lucky to witness fourteen sweet lives being born. Wooly, knocked knee, beautiful lambs entered the world and changed my whole perspective on what it means to be a vegan, to live a kind life.

Yesterday, one of those sweet sweet babies I watched enter this world, fought for when his mom wouldn’t accept him as hers, nursed back to health when he was sick, and most importantly, loved, died. I will spare you the details of his death. It’s one though that makes you pray so hard for everything in this world to just die in their sleep.

peter

 

Sweet Peter was just that, sweet. The kindness little soul, so gentle and patient. He was fearless and independent and above all, looking into his eyes, he trusted and he loved.

He was the last lamb to be born and his mama, Big Mama, rejected him. He was small, the smallest of them all, and when his mama wanted nothing to do with him, I worked day and night doing everything I could to make sure he lived.

And he did.

I think, no, I know there was a trust he bestowed upon me from that moment on. I’d always do everything in my power to make sure he lived a happy, healthy life.

And I tried. I really tried.

Nothing is sweeter then when you earn the trust of an animal.

To the people that say animals don’t feel or have a personality I simply ask; have you every just sat with one for any extended period of time and watched the way they interact with the world and others? Have you ever looked deep into their eyes?

It’s so easy for us to walk into a grocery store, pick up our pre-cut meat, head home and throw it on the BBQ. It’s easy to disassociate ourselves from what it really is.

When you raise them, learning each ones little personalities, their favorite treats, where they liked to be scratched, it all becomes so real.

He had no fear when it came to David and I. When he’d see us approaching his little ears would perk up, he’d tilt his head, and upon recognition he trot over to us, waiting to be scratched between his ears.

He was, by far, the coolest sheep.

As I crouched over his lifeless body, sobbing wet tears, I reach out to close his eyes, for it was the last thing I could do to protect and honor his  his short little life. It was in that moment that  I realized how lucky he was because he was born on our farm. He was cared for deeply and treated with the respect he deserved as a living, breathing soul.

Today I shed tears not for the loss of a farm animal but for the loss of a pet.

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Why Did the Chicken Cross the Pasture?

I’ve mentioned several times how our pet chickens are just that, pets. We’ve spent a lot of time with them since we first got them in August of 2011, socializing them so that when we are around them they are friendly and approachable. But, we never thought they would be as friendly as they are today, not too mention, gutsy.

We decided to let our chickens be free range in our pasture back in late summer because we grew tired of having to move them around the property every couple of weeks. I’ve seen many other chickens roam completely free on other properties and David and I thought, why not try it out? Our only concern was the potential of one of our dogs getting too close but since they were in the pasture surrounded by an electric fence, we figured they’d be pretty safe.

So, we took down the smaller 40 foot electric fence surrounding their mobile chicken coop and let them run free and they were in chickie heaven. The sheep and goats were curious as to what they were and all of them came over to check out what was going on, sniffing them, trying to figure out what they were doing in their pasture. It didn’t take long until they were part of their flock following them to all corners of the several acre pasture. Sometimes I’d find them way out by the pond in the third pasture pecking the ground, completely unaware of how far they had gone.

But most of the time the chickens stay close to the barn where they now nested and laid their eggs. Gone are the days of opening the roosting boxes on the coop and discovering four perfect little eggs. Now we are lucky if we can find one because they end up laying them throughout the barn or maybe even in the pasture!  If you are a regular follower of the blog then you read this post on the time I discovered over fifty eggs in one spot. If you haven’t read it yet you can read it here.

Now our ladies are totally free range and are loving life to the fullest. The only problem is, regardless of the fact that they have about 5 plus acres of pasture to explore, they’ve grown bored and I believe they have the attitude that the grass is greener on the other side because they keep finding their way through the electric fence and in our yard. Sometime last week I saw Isis, our American Bulldog, standing at the front door looking out the window. She usually only does this when she either has to go to the bathroom or their is someone or something out there. So, I decided to take a look and this is what I found.

Chickens at the front door

Knock knock! Who’s there? Oh, just Big Red and her three silly sisters!

I couldn’t believe my eyes! All four of them were just hanging out on and around our front stoop. I called David over and we both got a pretty good laugh at this. Unfortunately, we needed to make sure that they wouldn’t keep doing this because of the dogs and cats. All it would take was one time and we’d be digging a grave for one of our beloveds.

So with a little investigating, I realized that they were slipping right under the gate leading in and out of the pasture but that didn’t mean I fixed it right away. So far the dogs and cats hadn’t payed much attention to the ladies so I thought we just might be in the clear until a few days ago that was.

I was out by the barn on the phone and had all three dogs out there with me and as I was walking back from getting something from inside the shop I noticed Coleman, our English Bulldog, chasing Goldie Hen, one of our chickens. Then Gwen, one of the other chickens started flapping her wings and running in circles and Isis took notice and started chasing her. Forgetting that I was on the phone, I screamed at Isis and Coleman and started chasing them around as they chased the chickens around. It was one big cluster you know what and I ended up getting two of the chickens back in the pasture and needed to find the other two.

Unfortunately, Isis found one of them first. I turned around and she was chasing Mary, lunging up as she was in mid-air and snipped her tail feathers. I ran and grabbed Isis by the collar, allowing Mary to run into the barn. I yelled at Isis to stay and ran into the barn after Mary. I found her hiding behind the stacks of hay and knelt down to pick her up. Poor thing was practically shaking. I’m sure she just saw her life flash before her eyes. I got her back in the barn stalls safely and realized I still couldn’t find Big Red. After walking around the inside and outside of the barn I finally went into the pasture hoping she’d be there. And low and behold, she was. Somehow in all the madness she managed to get back into the pasture on her own, unscathed.

When all the chickens were back in the pasture and I had a moment to collect myself, I put the dogs on the deck, locking them in, and headed back out to figure out how to fix the fence.  I found two old boards and sealed up the space where they climb through and they haven’t been a problem since.

I know one day all our animals will die but I’m hoping and praying they all go naturally and from old age. Nothing would be worse, in my eyes, then having to put one down because they’d been attacked by another animal. All of which is part of living in the country but one can hope, can’t they?

Musings from the Farm – When a Lamb Gets Hurt

D was out-of-town on business last week and I swear, every time he leaves something happens to test me and usually it has to do with one of our animals. Last January when D went out-of-town our dog Maddy almost died. She wouldn’t eat, things were coming out from all ends (sorry), and she broke out in the worst hives I’ve ever seen. I spent the week going back and forth from the vet, emotionally wrecked and very scared. Another time D was gone all day at a conference right in the middle of lambing and one of the moms was rejecting her baby and was head butting it, pushing it against the wall, overall just being a horrible mother. I wanted to jump in there, swoop the baby in my arms and bring it into our home and raise it but I know that you have to let nature take its coarse and with a little manipulation she finally accepted him as her own.

So you can imagine I get a little fearful when D leaves because it’s a red flag that something is bound to happen with the animals.

I’ve said this so many times before but I have a deep desire to save every single animal I come across. For example, last Sunday as I was driving back home from visiting my family in Seattle I was about three miles out from being home and I noticed something flapping uncontrollably on the ground from the distance. As I drove by slowly I saw that it was an injured hawk lying upside down. A man and his wife had pulled over but I felt like I needed to do something as well. I had just read a story that hit pretty close to home. A woman rescued a baby rabbit from a neglectful owner who kept it outside in very cold conditions. She asked the owner if she could take the rabbit as it was near dead and she hoped she could possibly save it. She wrapped it in a blanket, holding it close to her chest, delicately petting the top of his head as they rushed to the vet. The bunny didn’t make it, dying in her arms before they arrived but it was what she said that made my heart melt and tiny bit more. It brought her comfort knowing that the rabbit died safe and warm in her arms instead of cold, scared and alone in his cage in the backyard. That’s how every animal should die.

I flipped my car around and drove back. I rolled down my window and asked the gentleman if he needed any help fully prepared to wrap that cold, scared bird in my own arms but as he loaded it in the back of his truck he said that it had died and I continued on home with a heavy heart.

I really hate when animals are sick or injured. They can’t communicate with you and it’s almost impossible to understand what is going on with them. We have a lot of animals on the farm and I know that eventually even they will get old and pass away and I suppose that is the only downside to having them. That inevitably, one day you wont.

Our sheep are especially dear to me because I was there throughout the whole process of lambing waiting in the winds to jump in and assist if need be. I cut umbilical cords, helped castrate, spent an abundant amount of time just sitting in their birthing jugs getting to know their little personalities and trying to get them to trust me. So as you can imagine these guys are extremely special to me.

I always thought sheep were so boring until I had some of my own. In reality their behavioral patterns are actually quite interesting and although they are somewhat skittish and often terrified of even their own shadow, they each have big personalities and bring us a lot of joy.

I have this funny habit of going out to the pasture at least once, if not twice a day to count them and make sure they are all there. Since sheep are prey animals and the lambs are still babies, I guess you could say I’m like a momma bear watching out for her young. If one of my sheep goes missing I am running all around that pasture looking for it which believe it or not, happens all too often. Our sheep are unlike normal flocks who stay together. Our sheep like to branch off and are a little too independent for their own good. They somewhat remind me of myself in that way.

So the other day as I was out counting my sheep I couldn’t find three of them. After discovering that they were way out in the wooded area of the back pasture I made my way back to the barn. As I was entering the entrance from the pasture I noticed that one of the lambs was limping pretty bad. It was Sweet Pea, the runt of the flock and also one of the most fearful. My first reaction was panic.  I’ve never been good in stressful situations. I’d make a horrible doctor. So here I am alone with a scared wounded lamb.  Great, what the heck do I do with this? My mind started working over drive and visions of having to put her down flashed before my eyes. I could see it all to well. Poor little me having to make such a big life changing decision, dragging my feet as I walk back to the house to grab the rifle slowly, unsteadily walking back out to the barn dragging the gun behind me as  tears stream down my face preparing for the worst thing you could ever ask me to do. Dramatic, yes but all I could think about was when a horse broke its leg it was done for. See why I’d make a terrible doctor?

I shook the thought off and got back to business. I knew I needed to separate her into a confined area so I could look at her but I had no idea how I would go about doing that. Since I had just fed them most of the sheep were in the barn eating which made it a little easier. But when I tried to get close to her she would get scared and run which only made matters worse. For her and for me.  Whatever was wrong with her leg, running was probably not good for it.

After luring Sweet Pea and about five other  into the two back stalls in the barn I still needed to get her alone in a small space so I could examine her leg. Easier said then done. Each time I approached her she would  quickly hobble around me and get all the other sheep frantic in the process. After ten minutes of trying I was so frustrated I called D practically in tears. I knew this little girl was hurt and she needed to stay off her leg but I was all alone and didn’t know what to do. D told me to just calm down and keep trying. He said it was probably just a sprain but that I had to get her alone to check for cuts or a snake bit. Excuse me? A snake bit? I was under the impression we only had harmless little gardener snakes or gopher snakes here. So now I’m dealing with snakes AND an injured animal. My two own personal ideas of hell.

I got off the phone with D with thoughts of big poisonous snakes flooding my mind and  was finally able to sneak up on her and put my arms around her torso lifting her into one of the birthing jugs that would contain her. I climbed in and tried to hold her still long enough to get a good look at her leg. I petted her and cooed in her ear promising her that I was only trying to help her, not eat her.  Fortunately, no snake bits or even a cut for that matter. Phew. I’m not sure what I would have done if there was a big gaping chunk out of her leg but knowing me, I’d probably curl up in fetal position and start crying or hyperventilating, most likely both.

I came to the conclusion that little miss just had a bad sprain which made the most sense. With no cuts or nails embedded in her hoof, it was the only logical explanation. Plus, if you’ve never seen a sheeps leg up close and personal they are skinny little things that look as if they would brake easily with one wrong turn. I was re leaved that no amputation would be necessary nor would be putting her down. A little R & R is what this ‘doctor’ prescribed.  A couple of days of forced relaxation and she’ll hopefully be back to normal.

I got her some food and watered and willed her to get cozy in her temporary home. She’s not happy though. In fact, I think she hates me now. She cries non stop and gives me the stink eye every time I go out there to check on her which of course breaks my heart a little more each time. On several occasions I almost let her out in hopes that it would convince her I was one of the good ones. How do you communicate to an animal that it is for their own good? All they really know is that you are holding them captive against their own will. But, sometimes you just can’t always be the nice guy. I know parents deal with this all the time. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions, the ones that are best for your little ones.

And that is what I did.

She’s better now and running freely with her flock but I swear, every time I go out there  now she still gives me dreaded stink eye breaking my heat a little more each time.

I’d Like You to Meet the ‘Ladies’

D and I purchased 26 baby chicks about a year ago, when we still ate meat, and had the intention of butchering some and using the others for their eggs. Well, things changed and we knew we couldn’t eat them or their off spring and we ended up selling all but four of the ladies. I struggled with selling them because I knew ultimately their were few people around here who wanted a bunch of chickens as pets and that they may go to someone who would end up butchering most of them. We didn’t know what to do but knew we couldn’t keep this many chickens. I ended up posting them on Craigslist and fortunately a really great couple purchased them and I like to believe that they are all happy, roaming freely on their farm.

The four that we did end up keeping have slowly, over the course of the year, become more like pets to use. They honestly have their own funny little personalities . Anytime they see us they all come running over to the fence. Their coop is surrounded by a 40 foot electric fence which doesn’t seem to work very well because we always see one of the chickens poking it’s head through reaching for the grass that sits just on the other side. But I suppose it still gives us a little piece of mind with it up. Plus, the dogs really can’t be trusted, nor the cats or the occasional coyote that gets on the property.

These gals have a special place in our hearts. We’ve nursed one back from the dead, literally, and the other three just tug a little at our hearts as well.

Every morning they are we waiting patiently for me to come out and undo the latch and open the ramp which they come in and out of the coop from. I’m an early riser so this is usually around 6-6:30 am. If it’s any later they always raise a stick and you can hear them from inside the house voicing their frustration at you. They spend their day waking around their pen picking at the ground. On extremely hot days they go under their coop and sit in the shade until it cools off in the evening. They are, for the most part, creature of habit. When the sun goes down they automatically go back into their coop and wait for D to come out and lock them in.

When we first got the chickens, while they were still living in the guest room as little baby chicks, we had a Chicken Coop made from Gopher Boy Farms. They idea behind it was for it to be mobile so we could transport the ladies around the farm and they could fertilize the ground.

This is me cleaning it out during the winter. The hay from inside the coop is a great ingredient to put in your compost {in case you are wondering}.

Most days the girls give us an egg each; a blueish-green, a pinkish brown, a speckled brown, and a plan brown.  We decided that instead of throwing them out {since we don’t eat eggs} we would trade with our friends for other goodies like vegetables or fun house plants or we sell them for $5 a dozen.  We may as well cover their cost, right?

So without further ado, I’d love for you to meet ‘the ladies’.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Basic H2 Giveaway Winners Are…

Good Morning Everyone! Hope you had a great Easter weekend! We sure did! The weather was AMAZING and I even had the chance to get outside and get my hands dirty weeding. It was heaven!

If you happen to have a moment to jump on over to facebook and give up a good ol’ ‘like,’ we’d be forever happy :) And if you also want to follow us on Twitter that would be pretty heavenly as well.

Before I announce those who will be getting their very own sample of Basic H2,

I have some photos I snapped this weekend when we went on a walk around the property. Spring is making it’s presence (finally) and everything was soaking up the sun, especially us!

D’s mom and dad were in town and we took the puppies on a walk around the family vineyard, Omero Cellars. It’s hard not to feel proud when we take a walk around the property as a lot of blood, sweat, tears, joy and happiness has gone into this beautiful place. Nothing is better then enjoying it on a sunny day! We even thought one of our sheep was going into labor. Turns out not quite yet but soon. Very very soon!

And if this vineyard was here in 1960, this is what it’d look like.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and the sun was shinning for you as well!

And here we are…

The recipients of a sample of Basic H2 are…

Elizabeth Hammett

Shaye

Tammy Morlan

Teri Capalby

Please email me your address at bullfrogsandbulldogs (dot) com so we can get you your samples! Happy Cleaning Ladies!

a morning stroll

I woke up this morning, looked out the window and was  greeted by the sun peeking out from behind some clouds highlighting the beautiful array of colors around the farm. I quickly put on my boots to go  let the chickens out for the day. I grabbed my camera on the way out the door…


Every season shares some sort of beauty but autumn colors are by far the most inspiring to me.

I think the animals even appreciate it as well…

 

And life is good…

 

 

 

 

 




the chicken with hemorroids


If you would have asked me seven months ago if I would ever apply Preparation H to a chickens butt I would have laughed hysterically at such a question.  Flash forward to the present and I find myself in just that very situation.

It all started last week when David and I were out taking care of the chickens. He happen to notice that one of the little guys rear end was, to put it nicely, not looking quite right. He picked the poor thing up and we both examined the situation.

My first reaction was what one would imagine. If I was looking in a mirror I suppose the look on my face would resemble disgust, confusion, and a contorted face trying to hold back bile that was creeping up my throat. I managed to pull myself together rather quickly and chime in that she must be trying to lay early. We put the ‘girl’ back down and decided to just wait and see.

While David was out running errands I couldn’t get the chicken’s butt out of my mind.I’d like to say it was because I could sympathize with the little thing but I can’t and it was mainly because I’m a softy and hate seeing any animal in pain.

I threw on my muck boots and walked back out to the coop to take another look. This time ‘she’ was hiding under the big red barn that is the new coop.  I realized something was really wrong and I needed to do a little research and by research I mean email Tiffany at Gopherboy Farms and ask some questions. I managed to snap a quick picture of the chickens behind (I’ll spare you the images) and sent if off to Tiffany with a message that said HELP!

Tiffany responded rather quickly and informing me that it was most likely a prolapsed Oviduct (if it is a female) and if caught early it can sometimes be reversed. I continued to read her instructions, 1) remove chicken immediately. Chickens go after things that are red and bloody, ie: become cannibals.

At this point I didn’t read further, put my phone in my pocket and ran out to the pasture where the chickens were. I proceeded to pick the poor girl up and carry her back into her old safe keeping, the garage. When I saw that she was safe and sound I pulled out my phone to read the rest of Tiffany’s instructions assuming that now that she was out of harms way the chicken would magically heal itself. And then I read on…after the chicken has been removed, soak it in a warm bath and vaseline the area with gloves and/or apply a hemorrhoidal cream until the chickens improves. WHAT?!

I reread the sentence several times before putting my phone back in my pocket. Pull yourself together Amanda. You can SAVE this chicken!

After my momentary panic of the idea of  having to actually touch the area, I quickly called David who was in the middle of an important meeting:

“Hello”

“I need you to pick up some hemorrhoid cream.” I said rather seriously.

“Okay…[laughter, laughter]”

“It’s for the chicken David. I need you to wrap up your meeting, get to the store, and get me that cream!” I said impatiently.

“I’m not sure there is a place to get that at around where I’m at but I’ll see what I can do.” (followed by even more laughter)

By the time David arrive home with the cream I had mentally prepared myself for what I had to do. I grabbed all my supplies, rubber gloves, two warm compresses, an extra towel, and the hemorrhoidal cream and headed out to the garage.

[Due to the graphic nature of this part of the story, it has been omitted from the final release of this post as to save its readers from horrible images and to leave them with the ability to still be able to swallow their dinner.]

When the task was complete, I put the chicken back in its (hopefully) temporary home and went back inside.

When I opened the front door David was there waiting for me.

“Well, I can check that one off my bucket list!” I said as I pulled off my boots and closed the door.

So now we wait. I soak, clean, apply cream and repeat until the little thing is healed and can be put back out with the others. There is the possibility that my efforts may not work and she/he will have to be culled which is really just a polite way of saying killed.

For now, soak, apply, repeat and hope that the little chicken pulls through. One thing is for sure there is never a dull moment on the farm.

the chicks are here!

David and I woke this morning at 6:45am to the sound of the telephone ringing. On the other end was the mail carrier informing us that our 26 two-day old chicks had just arrived. After hanging up the phone, we paused momentarily and then the excitement erupted. “The BABY CHICKS are here!!! We sprung out of bed, scurrying to get to the post office before 8am, and because we were a tad bit excited.

Upon arriving, we rang the bell and after a few moments, a man carrying a cardboard box filled with 26 baby chickens opened the backdoor. The sweet chirps echoed from within.

“You must be here to pick up these guys.”

After scanning the box he handed them over to me, their new momma chicken.

As we walked to the car, I quietly started naming them and whispered sweet little nothings that only a proud new mother would say. I know there will be a day when these little guys will be hauled off to the butcher but for now, I will bask in the glory of motherhood.

When we got home we followed the instructions from what all the books and vast information on the internet have said to do thus far. One by one we picked up each chick and dipped its little beak in water waiting for it to drink for the first time. After, we showed each chick where it’s food was and watched as they instinctively ate the grainy, hard chick food.

When all chicks were watered and fed, we sat back and watched as their little personalities came to life. Already a few are showing some interesting dominating characteristics and others just quietly laid down and fell right to sleep.

I think it is safe to say the next six weeks are going to be nothing short of eventful. When the chicks have all there feathers and the fear of them getting too cold has passed, we will take them outside to live happily in their brand new chicken coop that is being built by GopherBoy Farms.  Until then, they will live warm and cozy in our guest bedroom under the protective eye of momma chick Amanda.

country road

There is a strip of country road I drive often to get to town. It has some of my favorite views although, it’s hard to say it’s not all beautiful. For me, there’s nothing like driving down an old country road with the sun shinning, the windows down and the sweet tunes of country music blaring from my stereo.

There are fields all over full of these white flowers. It is simply beautiful.