Thursday, July 31, 2008

Horse Flies

There are many things in this life that I wonder about, I suppose that the good Lord allowed us to have some things just to teach us patience and endurance. But some things just seem to have no purpose in this world.

No matter how much I try, I can see no purpose for mosquitoes or wasps, other than to test your reflexes and speed. I can tolerate flies for the most part and at times enjoy a little swat practice.

However, there is one thing that I am appalled by more than mosquitoes and wasps, that is horse flies. Just what is their purpose? If I think real hard and am generous with my horse fly evaluation, perhaps I could say that they make enjoyable entertainment for sadistic horse gazers.

My Grandson and I were watching our Grullo Stallion yesterday who was being pursued by an average horse fly. This horse fly was no more intelligence than any other horse fly that I have known. All horse flies are brilliantly clever. They know just where to land on a horse's rump in order to stay aboard for the maximum amount of time.

Poor Badger was doing all sorts of calisthenics, stretching his neck as far as it could reach, while stretching his legs out straight in front of him and he just couldn't get it.

He did a series of bucks, twists and jumps in the air, but that didn't work either. So he finally ran to just the right spot and threw himself on the ground and rolled in the mud. That did the trick, the problem was that as he was getting back on his feet the fly just landed again in the same spot.

Badger is not a slow learner, the next time he rolled, he jumped back up on his feet and was out of there. He ran as hard and fast as he could, trying to outrun the horse fly, but to no avail. My Grandson and I didn't really enjoy the show that he was putting on but we did watch it.

When our Appaloosa stallion gets a horse fly on him, he runs to the fence and waits for me to whack it with the broom. If you whack a horse with a broom at any other time of the year, they take offense at it. But during horse fly season they love it.

It can be very dangerous to go into the herd during horse fly season, which usually just runs through the month of August here. The horses will run under each other's head and neck in order to scrape the offending fly off of their backs. They will also run right towards you and quickly turn their rumps to you and if you are not quick enough with the slap, they will continue to squirm and buck right in close proximity to you. Horses tend to forget about respecting your space during horse fly season.

Another thing that I guess you could credit the horse fly with, is teaching trail riders better horsemanship skills. While some horses do not lose their minds when a horse fly lands on their rumps, some go ballistic. I have one of the ballistic types myself. I haven't ridden him in a few years, because of my back but he and horse flies are the reason that I have a hard time understanding why Cowboys don't like to ride bucking broncs in rodeos. It was easy enough for me, a Grandmother.

My AQHA gelding, Dan, always was super sensitive and overreacted to horse flies on his rump. If I heard the fly then I could prepare myself for the bucking that would ensue but if the fly did a silent landing by using their sophisticated stealth mode, then I was caught off guard.

Riding a bucking horse while trying to turn around and swat a horse fly should be a rodeo event. At one point, I could possibly have made it to the rodeo finals and might even have been the world champion bronc buster/swatter.

Dan never bucked me off but then he never bucked the horse fly off either, so I didn't get the point. He did manage to get me off one time but not by bucking and not by a horse fly.

I was riding third in a string of three riders, the first rider startled the yellow jackets, the second rider made the yellow jackets mad, Dan and I were the object of their wrath. I didn't know what was happening, he just turned into a quivering mass under me. I could sense that he was about to explode. I baled off on his right side when I saw a yellow jacket on his neck. I ran as fast as I could through the woods, the problem was that he didn't know what to do, so he ran as fast as he could after me.

I managed not to get stung or ran over somehow. After we were far away from the nest, we stopped and regrouped. We picked several dead yellow jackets out of Dan's mane and tail.

I am prepared for horse fly season this year. After trying several horse fly traps that didn't work, I am taking a different approach. I researched horse flies on the internet and found that you can attract them with the color blue. It has to be a pool blue, I know this is true because they love my swimming pool. I ordered some sticky goo last year on ebay, I forget what it is called but you can smear it on something that is swimming pool blue and the horse flies will land on it and get stuck.

The article that I read said that you can get a child's blue sand bucket and put it on a stick and walk it through your horse herd or put it on a vehicle and drive around the horses. You can even get a hat that color and smear it with the sticky stuff and walk through your herd.

I will try it out when the flies get to be more of a problem here and post my results in a blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Loses

I didn't lose any chickens yesterday, this is an improvement. We are making progress. I did sell Copper yesterday evening, he went to a good home. He will be used as a buck. Angel didn't like it, she is still looking for him this morning. That is the sad part of selling my kids, it upsets Angel but his mother didn't seem to mind at all. I think she was ready to let him go.

We had storms all through the night and I have water in my living room this morning. I don't understand why sometimes the rain comes in and sometimes it doesn't. I wish some philanthropist would give me about $100,000, I could really put it to good use. I need a house.

Or better yet, it would be nice if a couple of people would retire from the Post Office and my Husband would get a regular postal route and become a full time employee instead of a substitute or RCA, no one wants to retire anymore. Another possibility is that we could sell all of our 30+ horses at reasonable prices. That would really help out, think of the money that we would save on feed alone.

We did sell a yearling filly, Biscuit is moving to Texas on Monday to become a broodmare. She will be raising spotted mule foals. We will really miss her, she has the sweetest disposition. You can sweet talk her into anything and once she learns something she retains it.

My orphan chicks are all doing well so far. The two barred rock chicks have taken up with another barred rock hen and they are roosting in the goat/chicken shed at night on the highest perch, next to the biggest rooster.

My three little banty chicks have tried to join the other banty chicks but the hen won't allow it. So they are on their own, they roost in the same nest that their mother always took them to at night, they have no protection at all. At least one of them is a rooster and he is trying to protect his little family but it is a big responsibility for such a young chick.

I was tempted to put them in a cage but the barred rock chicks were so unhappy in the cage that I hate to do it to the banties after they have been free all of their lives.

Well, that is the news for now, nothing very exciting, which is a good thing. If you are a philanthropist and have some money that you would like to put to good use contact me but please not from Nigeria.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Busy Again

Busy, busy, busy, I have so much to do that I am actually looking forward to winter. My Husband will be very upset by this comment. I don't have time to blog but I will use it as an organization tool.

I finally got most of my Spring surge of rope halter orders finished. I currently only have two outstanding orders that total 6 halters. Then this morning I got an order for 17 more halters.

I am in the process of building a large website for a Barrel Racer and Trainer. I have all of the information and pictures that I need to finish it, I just need to pull it all together.

I also have been asked to do a local website for our community that I would really like to do a nice job on, it will be complicated with a lot of information, I am donating the entire site and my time. At this point, I am trying to figure out how I want to do it. I will post a link to it here when it is finished.

We have sold a horse and possibly another one, this requires some major attention this week because someone will be here to pick one of them up on August 4th, she will have to have all of her paperwork and Vet exam done this week.

I really need to update our website but it always gets pushed to the bottom of my "to do" list. I don't even have the new foals on there yet.

Dishes and laundry are an unending problem for me. As is Cooter who has to be moved from location to location throughout the day. Plus goats and chickens to be fed and cared for.

I spent most of the morning this morning looking for one of my Mille Fleur D'Uccle hens, she has totally disappeared orphaning her three chicks, this is the same hen that was picked up by the hawk a week or so ago. I really hate that I am loosing my broody hens but especially my Millies. I haven't been able to find any feathers anywhere, so it must have been a hawk that got her.

I am thinking about renaming our place to The Fox and Hawk Food Farm or Predator's Ranch.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I had to get my DH a cell phone so that I would always be able to reach him when he is away from home and I have some emergency. Like mares foaling or stallions escaping their pens and getting in with each other. That is always a good way to get your heart rate up. I can deal with mares foaling but when the two studs get together, I feel a little overwhelmed.

The problem that I have is that he never seems to have it with him. He does faithfully take it to work with him but he leaves it lying here by the computer most of the rest of the time.

We can't afford a cell phone plan. I can't justify it with our measly income, so we have used a Tracfone for the last 3 or 4 years. I can usually get a good coupon code, so that it doesn't cost us that much.

I do get a little upset that at both places of employment where my DH works, they have his Tracfone number and call him, burning up my hard earned minutes. I believe that if they need to get in touch with him then they should pay for his minutes or supply him with a phone.

I purchased minutes for the phone last night on the Tracfone website. I bought the one year card with 400 minutes, then used the coupon code 52057 to get 200 bonus minutes. I had previously purchased double minutes for the life of the phone, so that doubled the 400 minutes. This was added to units and time that I had left, so that took me to January of 2010 with 1026 minutes for $100. This coupon code expires sometime in August.

I told him this morning that just because I got a good deal and he has a lot of minutes doesn't mean that he can use them to gab for long periods of time with anyone but me. I will be watching.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's in the Genes

Since way back when our eldest Son became a young man, I have thought that he inherited his redneckness from my side of the family. He instinctively liked to do the same things that I liked to do as a teenager. That was to go to Jackson County and just hang out in the deep woods.

While other girls my age were doing a lot of shopping and Malls were just coming into existence. I preferred going coon hunting, fishing or just driving around in God's country, if my cousin and I could talk her Dad into it. He never disappointed us. Even if it was in the middle of the night and he didn't have any spare batteries for his flashlight, us kids would just hold each other's hands and run through the woods after him and the coon dog.

Now back to my original thought, I am not a total redneck although I must admit I am mostly one. Just like today, when my Mother-in-law and my Husband's Aunt came to visit. I had perfect manners, I swept the chicken poo off of the front stoop. I consider my Husband's Mother a special guest and I don't mind going that extra mile for her.

My Mother-in-law won my heart years ago, when we were first married. She dropped in unexpectedly one day and told me that I didn't need to mop and wax the floors everyday as I had been doing. That totally changed my life. I don't think that I have mopped at all since then.

Now where was I? Oh, yes, my Son's bloodlines. After what happened tonight, I am not sure that all of our Son's quirks came from my side of the family.

We had gone to our youngest Son's house to see what they were putting in their garage sale tomorrow. They didn't have anything that I was interested in, until I saw the red wagon. I can't tell you how excited I was at the very sight of it. All goat herders should have a red wagon, they are perfect for hauling feed and water. Some goat herders flaunt their wagons, like a trophy. The really snooty ones have John Deere green wagons.

This wagon was purchased for my Granddaughters, it has fold up seats on each end, facing each other. It even has cup holders. This wagon will be perfect for hauling buckets in each seat. Now I can make just one trip and have everything that I need with me. My DH bought a very nice wheelbarrow that is light weight enough that I should be able to use it too.

We were on our way home, it was about 10:30 and we were driving on a country road at about the speed of light. When all of the sudden, our lights went out. Now when you are traveling at the speed of light and your headlights go out there is only one thing that you can do and that is slam on the brakes. This action tends to throw the new red wagon and wheelbarrow through the back glass of the truck. It would have been bad if it had broken that back glass because that would have been twice this year. The first time it was broken by a bale spear.

When my DH hit the dimmer switch the lights came back on and not wanting to lose his momentum, he accelerated back up to light speed. Then the lights went out for good. We managed to get stopped and he turned on the flashers, flashers tend to make me a little sick, when driving down the road at such high rates of speed.

This is where my Husband showed his true colors, he reached for the ever present spotlight, pushed the end into the cigarette lighter and out the window went his arm. This was just perfect, we had much better light than headlights could give.

The thing that really bothered me was that, I offered to get the spotlight and plug it in for him but he had to do it himself while flying down the road with only his dim blinkers for light but he wasn't watching the road anyway, so I guess it didn't matter.

We then noticed this strange, spooky whistle sound, this was bad because then he became focused on how the spotlight was whistling. I told him that they probably don't whistle like that when using them for a headlight at normal rates of speed but that the whistle was probably a warning than he was going too fast. He was still turning the spotlight all different angles to see if he could make different sounds and I resumed my important job of keeping us out of the ditches.

He hasn't always been this reckless, going a little too fast maybe but since he took a job as a rural mail carrier. His driving skills have suffered. He says he is a better driver but I don't think so. He does most of his driving with his left hand and left foot while sitting on the right hand side of the vehicle, with his hands constantly sorting mail and reaching into the back seat for more mail. He is a great multi-tasker. I think that he feels that he is a better driver because he has learned to drive without his eyes, he goes by feeling now.

Thank goodness that we only met one car with our new fangled headlight. The DH did point the spotlight off to the right hand side of the road, so as not to blind the poor guy but he still stopped his truck and froze in position at the sight of us, I hope it wasn't anyone we know.

Right before we got home, I asked him what he was going to do. His answers to me were the clincher of the whole matter. He said that we just weren't going to go anywhere after dark and then he said that he might have to think of something else to do before winter because his arm would get cold. So you see my dear Son, you came by it honestly.

(Edited to correct all of my errors, I obviously don't know my left hand from my right and sight is spelled s-i-g-h-t and not s-i-t-e. Let me know if I made any other errors.)

I Failed

I am usually pretty in tune with the sounds outside the house but two of my Granddaughters were here yesterday and I didn't hear the fox catch one of my Barred Rock hens.

I took the girls out to the sandbox during the late afternoon and noticed that she wasn't with her two chicks. They were searching for her and confused. But since the banty hens have been leaving their chicks at times, I thought she might just have wondered off somewhere.

Late in the evening after my DH got home from work, I took the oldest girl out with me to milk and still no hen. We started looking around and I found many of her feathers in one of our stud pens.

When I went back inside, I asked my Husband to go look for her while I stayed with the girls. When he returned, he said that it was a fox and that he followed the trail of feathers to the woods behind the neighbor's house and that he has a path under the fence.

As soon as our Son picked up the girls, we went out to try to catch the chicks. It would have made a good funniest video. There was a lot of running, tripping and getting in each others way in the chase that ensued. After many failed attempts my DH managed to pen them to the ground with the long handled swimming pool skimmer. Then I picked them up and put them in a cage. All in all, it was a great exercise routine.

I am pretty upset with this fox and myself. I have had several good shots at him that I have missed. He always shows up at noontime but he may go for weeks without coming at all. I guess he gets tired of having chicken all of the time. I can sympathize, I don't like chicken very often myself. I am however, longing for some raw fox meat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Lovely Day

Before the clock reaches midnight tonight, I thought that I would blog about the day, it was lovely. It wasn't hot like it has been for the last several days, it was just right. I made Cooter a new colorful goat rope halter. He had outgrown his old one and since I am staking him out everyday, I wanted him to be comfortable. The bright colors won't last long with the way he will treat it.

When I went to get Cinder to milk her this morning, Angel ran out the gate while I was taking Cinder out. This was strange behavior for her, so I watched to see what she was doing. She went right straight to the truck and tried to get into the back, she sniffed all around and then went into the barn/house where our large dog crate is and sniffed it. I finally realized that she was looking for Zinc, the goat kid that we took to his new home yesterday. She takes her responsibility for every goat very seriously. She is a great livestock guardian dog.

My Husband thought that the grass was getting too deep in the goat lot, so he put Shorty our miniature horse in there to eat down the grass some. But as soon as his belly was full, he started chasing the goats and horsing around. The goats didn't want to play and Angel didn't want to play.

He was running them from one end of the lot to the other, so I rescued them by opening the gate, they all ran out past me in desperation. Shorty used to stay with them all of the time and they got along fine except when he would get the rips, like he did today.

I put halters and lead ropes on Cinder and Calico, then tied them up in a lush shady spot. Angel and the other goats will not leave them, so every one enjoyed the day and the change in diet.

My poor Husband was feeding some horses and moved a separation gate, then got stung by another red wasp. They seem to have nests everywhere we turn this year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Monday was weaning day because we always try to wean in the sign. The goat kids were permanently separated from Calico on Monday. This meant that I had to start milking her twice per day just like Cinder, her Mother.

We also weaned Garnet, our Walkaloosa colt. The way we weaned him was to load his mother up and take her to a friend's place. That left him with the other foals and their mothers. He hardly even missed her until this morning.

My poor Husband had gotten stung by a bumble bee the other day while pulling up a fence post that had a nest in it. He was fortunate that he was only stung once. He had a reaction to a red wasp sting many years ago after getting stung several times by bumble bees, so I am always a little nervous when he gets stung by anything.

On Monday while we were hooking up the horse trailer to take Garnet's mother away, I cranked the trailer up and gave direction, while he backed the truck up. As soon as he was in position, I left to do something else and he hooked the trailer up.

He soon found out that there was a wasp nest in the trailer hitch and barely escaped an attack. I gave him some wasp spray and went into the trailer to make sure that there were no nests inside. I looked very carefully and cautiously. I then proclaimed it to be safe and again walked away to do something else.

The next thing I know, he is unlatching the slant gate inside the trailer and he comes dancing out, complaining about getting stung. I believe he also mentioned something about making me an appointment with the eye doctor, he has brought this up several times lately. He thinks that I need new glasses.

I went inside, grabbed a penny and slapped it on the sting site on his arm. I had gained this priceless piece of first-aid information from a forwarded e-mail, so it had to work, right? He kept the penny in place for awhile then we put a baking soda and water paste on it and wrapped it up, so that he could keep working. I took that extra precaution of making him take an antihistamine.

While loading the two horses that we were taking to the friend's house, he discovered yet another large wasp nest inside the trailer that had to be dealt with. Somehow no one got stung that time. I don't think that he will ever trust me again.

This morning I went out to bring the goats up to the barn/house to be milked. I was trying to open the gates without all of the goats escaping, which is no small task, when I noticed that Calico's kids who were in a large dog kennel right behind me were trying their level best to escape too.

They were crying and jumping against the gate of the kennel and all of the sudden there was just this swarm of red wasps that came out of the kennel framework. They were stinging those poor kids and they were everywhere. The kids were running all around trying to get away from them but there was no place to go.

I dropped what I was doing and dove for the gate. Somehow I got it open and was out of there and back to the barn/house in a flash. I only looked back long enough to see the kids tear out of that gate and though the other gates, back to their mother. So, now they are unweaned.

We did get Zinc delivered to his new home today. We had promised to deliver him as soon as he was weaned. So he got to spend most of his last day here with his mother and got his belly full of milk for the road trip.

Exciting News

Yesterday was an exciting day. My expecting Daughter-in-law had her midway ultrasound and was suppose to find out the gender of the baby. They have three daughters ages 5 and under. We have been calling this new baby an "it" which is a little uncomfortable. I waited for her phone call and when it came, she was cruel and told me that the baby wouldn't cooperate and that they couldn't tell what it was. But that she was coming down to show us the 15 minute video.

I told my Husband when I hung up that she said that they couldn't tell, but that she was probably lying to me. He didn't understand why she would lie to me about it until I told him that she was bringing a 15 minute video down.

As soon as they arrived, I started interrogating the girls. They were very convincing and I started thinking that she had told me the truth after all.

So we watched the video and I first thought that I saw boy parts but then I thought I saw girl parts. Finally right before the truth was revealed, my DIL admitted that she knew and wanted to know if we knew, which we didn't.

Then the lady doing the ultrasound, after shaking the baby several times trying to get it to uncross it's legs, circled the area and it was plain to see that it is a boy. I guess the lady knew right from the beginning that it was a boy but she knew that they already had three girls, so she made them wait until she got a really clear picture so they could see for themselves. His big sisters will finally be able to quit fighting over who has to play the roll of the Prince.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pecking Order

My chicks are getting so big and they are all different, very colorful. Only two have feathered feet and only one looks like it might be a pure bred Mille Fleur D'Uccle. It will probably turn out to be a rooster.

They are starting to get aggressive. When I turned them out this morning they where all running around my feet chasing each other and pecking each other. I guess they are trying to establish a pecking order.

These are some pictures that I took some time ago of the chicks, they are much bigger and have more feathers now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I think that I discovered this morning what got away with my little red hen. I had just come in from feeding the chickens early this morning and sat down in front of the computer, when I heard a commotion outside the door in the drive through part of the barn. All of the chickens were squawking and scattering. I ran out the door but only saw all of the chickens running toward the goat/chicken house, except for the two Mille Fleur D'Uccles with their chicks.

I looked around and found that one of the D'Uccle hens was missing. Her three chicks were chirping loudly and looking for her. I wasn't sure what had happened but summoned my dear Husband from his slumber to assist. He went one way and I went another. I noticed that several crows were pitching a fit and were attacking something out in the pasture. It was too small for a hawk, unless it was a young one. It flew away and my little D'Uccle hen was staggering around in the pasture on her way back to the yard, disoriented. I picked her up and brought her back to her chicks. She was not injured that I could tell.

It could have been a falcon, we had one here once before that stayed around all day then moved on. It landed on my Husband's head, which kind of took him by surprise. It acted pretty tame, so we assumed it was someone's pet or had escaped from captivity. But we could never catch it, although we could get close to it. We didn't have chickens at the time.

Whatever this was this morning, it is a small bird of prey and flew right in the back door of the barn, grabbed the hen and flew out the front door. I told my DH that I wouldn't take a thousand dollars apiece for my Livestock Guardian Crows. I think he though might since we have so many.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Little Red

I lost another chicken yesterday evening. This was one of the very first chickens that we got. We called her the Little Red Hen. She was special, all of the roosters fought over her and she was the bossiest of the hens. She would fight anything that got in her way. Little Red was just a red banty hen that wasn't very pretty but she had a lot of personality. She laid a medium sized egg, she was the only hen that we had that did that.

I saw her throughout the day yesterday and even saw her during the evening hours. But late in the evening after it cooled down some, I got in the swimming pool. I know that you are suppose to swim when it is hot but my pool water gets pretty warm after several days of hot weather and who wants to swim in hot water on a hot day? While I was in the pool I did see a hawk. That was just about the time that the chickens were going to roost. My DH asked me where she was, after he went to gather the eggs.

Since we had just shot at the fox the day before, my guess is that the hawk got her. I didn't hear a struggle and she just disappeared so suddenly. I haven't even found any feathers. I was hoping that she would come into the barn/house with the rooster this morning, just like every morning, but he came in alone.

Angry Rant

Thieves struck once more, we woke up Saturday morning with no phone service and thus no dial-up internet service. They have stolen our phone lines again. I am getting a little put out about it. I can understand it happening a few times but this is getting ridiculous. Like I have said before, they only strike after midnight on the weekends and they are always in the same area, our side of town. Why can't they be caught?

Where is the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department? They must be busy like the Indiana State Police, pulling over dangerous criminals like my Stepdad who is in his late 70's and has never had a ticket before in his life. You would think that with his record they would have just given him a warning for driving a little over the speed limit, but no, they gave him a ticket. They have to get that quota, you know.

I have always been a supporter of Law Enforcement but I think all of the good men must be in Iraq or Afghanistan. What we are left with here at home are just power hungry wantabees, who don't want to take any risks with dangerous law breakers. They just want to collect fines from safe, mostly law abiding citizens who's only sin is traffic violations.

I am sorry but in this day and age, with drunk drivers, dope addicts and peddlers, thieves, murderers, child molesters and abusers. Why are we so worried about an elderly man with a clean record going 5 or 10 miles an hour over the speed limit?

I want to respect Law Enforcement Officers and I know that there are some good ones out there, but it is getting easier to see them all as abusing their power and taking the easiest path. It kind of reminds me of today's cowboys who don't want to ride bucking horses, they just want to stick with the bulls, helmets and protective vests. Hopefully this war will end soon and the real men will come home.

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Milking

Calico did very well for her first milking. The kids also did well, they didn't complain at all. Calico was talking to them this morning but they didn't really act like they were missing her.

I milked Cinder first, then fed grain to the babies in the dog kennel and put a halter and lead rope on Calico. I led her to the barn and it only took a hand full of grain to get her to jump up on the milk stand. She buried her face in the grain and didn't care what I did to her.

I first tried hand milking her, she has perfect teats that are very easy to milk. She didn't stomp or kick even one time. She is nothing like her mother, Cinder. who still has to have hobbles after years of milking.

I did put the hobbles on Calico before I put the milker on her. She didn't even notice until all of her grain was gone, then she realized that her hind feet where tied together and she didn't like that at all. I will only be milking her once per day until the kids are completely weaned. Tomorrow morning I will try milking her without the hobbles.

After I finished milking her, I let her eat grass in the yard for awhile before turning the boys back in with her. They surprised me, they didn't even act that anxious to nurse after being away from her overnight. I guess they are getting old enough to handle adulthood and separation from their mother.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I finally got around to starting the weaning process for Copper and Zinc today, it is way overdue. It isn't a complete weaning just a start. I put them in the dog kennel for tonight, then I will milk Calico for the very first time tomorrow morning. I will turn the kids back in with her after they have been fed grain in the morning. I thought that they would cry all evening but so far they haven't made a peep.

Our fox returned this evening. I was just getting ready to milk Cinder and had gone to the back of the barn/house to put grain in the feeder on the milk stand, I hadn't brought Cinder in yet. I looked out the back door and there was that sneaky fox sniffing around.

I went directly into the house and said, "FOX" to my DH who was on the computer at the time. I grabbed the .22 magnum rifle and as I went back out the door, I said, "FOX" again, still no response, so I yelled it at him. That time he heard me and jumped up and got my .22 rifle.

I just stood inside the back of the barn and waited on my Husband to shoot because I have missed him before and I thought that maybe the DH might be able to hit him. He waited until the fox came closer and he had a perfect shot, but he is just as bad as me. The fox jumped straight up in the air when he shot and took off to the woods.

Stake Out

It was hot yesterday. It is going to be hot again today. I have to stake my Buck out to eat now because we don't have any hay. The goat lot where the does stay has plenty of grass, clover and weeds but my buck lot is small with nothing green in it.

I usually stake him out in places with lots weeds that need cleaning up but yesterday was so hot that I just tied him out in the morning shade then put him back in his cool lot during the heat of the day. When I stake him out I have to periodically untie him and lead him to water. The silly thing will hardly ever drink when I take him. He is like a camel, he only wants to drink once a day and when he does drink, he drinks a lot.

Since Cooter spent most of the day in his lot, I had to stake him out in the evening after it cooled down some. I didn't want to leave him staked out over night but he very seldom gets tangled up where I have been putting him, so I left him there. I checked on him a couple of times during the night.

Early this morning when I went out to check on him he was lying flat out on his side, I thought he was dead. I yelled at him and he didn't move. I walked up on him and saw that he was breathing deeply and slowly, but he still didn't respond. I said his name and he fluttered his eyelids but still didn't wake up. I put my hand on his hip and shook him real hard, he finally opened his eyes but still didn't raise his head. I thought something had to be wrong with him. I asked him what was wrong and he lazily raised his head and looked at me, then finally got to his feet and stretched.

I was glad that he was alright, though I couldn't figure out what could be wrong with him. I just couldn't believe that he would sleep that sound. I know it isn't because he has a clear conscious, because as soon as he got done stretching, he peed all over his front legs and chin. He pees all over everything, all of the time, you would think that he would have to drink more water than he does.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Losing Weight

The nurse who checked me in at the Doctor's office was very kind when she weighed me. She suggested that my denim skirt looked pretty heavy, then of course there were my shoes and a very heavy belt. I had a big barrette in my hair also. I didn't mention these things to my Doctor, I just went ahead and let him believe that I actually weighed that much.

I took the lecture without sobbing, but then he started in on all of the other stuff that I needed to do, things that I don't want to do, like mammograms, colonoscopies, gall bladder surgery, things that have nothing to do with my aching back. I have a good mind never to visit another Doctor, they just aren't very nice.

I was whining about my Doctor visit to a friend who is a Registered Nurse and she said that I wasn't fat. Since it is always best to get a second opinion, I strongly considered just going with hers. However, since I did pay the Doctor a large sum of money, I suppose his opinion is more valuable.

We left the Doctor's office and went straight to the Golden Corral in Bedford, their Chocolate Pie is to die for. I did manage to stop after the second piece, my DH wouldn't let me go get a third one.

As I am typing this I am indulging in a small glass of Kefir made with fresh goat's milk without the cream removed. It was slightly frozen and I added a sweetened Pina Colada syrup to it, delicious! So you see I have already started cutting back, only two pieces of pie and only a small glass of Kefir while blogging before bed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cooler Weather

After Saturday night's storms, things have greatly cooled down. I have barely been getting enough milk for my own two glasses per day, plus I drink goat's milk anytime I get heartburn, it cures it instantly. Goat milk production around here has been greatly reduced during the recent hot weather, I had suspected that this was to blame but wasn't sure until yesterday. Milk production was up by at least 50%.

Egg production has been down as well. Just when I finally had more egg buyers than eggs, my hens quit laying. We were lucky to get two eggs a day out of ten hens. The banties were actually laying better than the big hens were in this heat. But with the cooler temperatures yesterday we got four eggs. I have four hens who are raising chicks, so they have an excuse for their lack of production but the others have just been on strike because of working conditions. They are demanding an air conditioned chicken house with well ventilated nests.

I get to go to the Doctor today, oh what joy! I would rather go to the Dentist and get teeth pulled than face my Doctor. He just keeps harping about my weight and I always try to lose a few pounds before I see him, just so I won't have to hear his lecture. But I didn't manage to get that accomplished this time and have gained weight since last we met.

He believes that my spine wouldn't be complaining as much, if I would relieve some of it's burden. That is actually quite a motivation for me, if I thought that I could live a normal life again, I might just lose that weight. I just can't figure out how to do it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


We attended a rodeo at our local fair on Friday night. It was expensive and nothing but a bunch of bull. I was disappointed that they had advertised barrel racing and didn't have any. It was mostly bull riding with just a few broncs that I think were just unbroke horses that they had picked up somewhere. They certainly had no bucking experience, all that they did was run and all that the cowboy had to do was hold on.

The bulls were good and loved to buck. The problem was that they were too good for the cowboys that were there and most of them hit the dirt as soon as they came out of the gate. Only one cowboy made it to 8 seconds and he won the whole pot.

The evening was kind of spoiled by the man that came out before the rodeo and started scratching on the bulls who were turned loose in the arena. That kind of spoiled the mean and ornery, bad bull image. Although we did see a couple of cowboys butted and stomped.

One cowboy walked past me after the rodeo was over and we were walking out. He caught my attention by the glazed look in his eyes and the paleness of his face. I think that maybe he was beyond pain. I worried about him because he was wondering around alone. I am sure that he needed medical attention but was too tough and proud to admit it.

The highlight of the evening was when the little 7 or 8 year old boy was trying to pet the bulls through the holding gates and barely got his arm out before the bull kicked at him and got his foot caught in the gate. We were a little surprised that they let the crowd walk out past the bulls with nothing or no one there to keep kids away. I guess they thought that maybe parents would take that responsibility, they must have been aliens from another planet if they believed that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Microsoft Update

I have my computer set to do automatic Microsoft or Windows Updates. On Wednesday an update finally got itself downloaded with my slow dial-up connection. So Wednesday evening it asked me if the updates could install themselves. I allowed the installation right before I went to bed along with the shut-down and restart process.

The next morning when my Husband got up, he kept dialing up and trying to go somewhere, anywhere and it behaved as if the browser wasn't receiving an answer from the internet. He was online but all of the web was blocked. He tried redialing several times but always got the same response.

So he woke me up and explained the problem, I thought maybe the update had disabled my Firefox browser. I opened up Internet Explorer and got online with it and had the same results.

I decided to use the handy dandy system restore feature. I clicked START then HELP AND SUPPORT then chose SYSTEM RESTORE. It let me choose not only the date to restore to but also the time. I choose the time when the update had installed itself, just to make sure that the update was the problem. Sure enough that was the problem. I got online and all was well with the world again.

The update returned and I let it install itself again, sure enough the same problem occurred. I did the time machine thing again and shut off the automatic Microsoft Updates. Then I got online to see if anyone else was experiencing this same problem and couldn't find anything. Maybe they just haven't been able to get online to complain yet.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Well, my fox problems have returned. I was missing one of my new banty hens yesterday. I was hoping that she was sitting on a hidden nest somewhere but I think that I got an answer today at noon.

I just happened to be looking out the window and a fox came running down the hill in a blur of speed, right into the front door of the barn, that is where the two Mille Fleur D'Uccle hens stay with their broods. I heard startled chickens scattering and Angel started barking.

I grabbed my rifle and flew out the door, I must have clicked the safety off as I ran out. The rooster was chasing him out the front door with me right behind him. The fox made a beeline up the hill, then stopped and turned around. He didn't have anything in his mouth and he was a perfect target. I pulled up and took aim but the trigger wouldn't budge. I guess I must have clicked the safety on again as I pulled the gun up. By the time I clicked it off, he was gone.

This was not the same fox that we have been having trouble with. This fox was a beautiful little animal. He is dark red with a pretty coat, fluffy tail with a white tip on it. The other fox looked like he was a halfbreed, he was tall, long bodied, light colored with a rough coat and no white on his tail.

When we first got Angel I had wanted her to stay in the goat lot with no roaming around the farm or neighborhood. That didn't work out because her coat was so thick that she just went under the electric fence, like it wasn't there. I had gotten use to her coming to the barn/house with Cinder when I milked and liked the idea that she could be more of a protector if she wasn't confined to the goat lot. On several occasions she has run off foxes and dogs.

Then summer arrived and she lost her heavy coat and got some mats on her back that I had to cut off. She started getting shocked when she went under the fence, so she has stopped getting out. My DH is thrilled and says that I will have to keep the hair on her back shaved. But I am thinking today that I may have to fix a special place in the fence where she can get out without being shocked. Just don't tell my DH.


I couldn't think of a title for this blog because I have so many different thoughts going through my head. I am hoping a title will emerge from the blog all on it's own.

All was peaceful and quiet yesterday evening, my DH had a rare day off and was busy mowing the top pasture. I thought that I would go ahead and get the evening feeding and milking done before it got dark. I was going to take my time and enjoy the process. I started out by trying to get all of the new chicks in cages with their mothers. I soon realized that herding baby chicks is not an easy task and that I was wasting my time.

I went to the goat lot with halter and lead rope in hand, caught Cinder and led her to the barn/house to be milked. She was not as cooperative as she usually is and that task turned out not to be pleasant in the least. She didn't want to get on the milk stand that is still standing in muddy water from the recent rain.

I finally got her in place and sat down to milk and dropped my clean cloth that I had to wash her udder with into the muddy water under the stand. So I had to go back into the house for a new one. On the way back to the milking stand was when I first noticed that the wind had picked up and the sky had grown dark and there was a not too distant sound of thunder. I had a lot to get done before it started to rain, so I picked up my pace.

Cinder had more milk than usual and so it took me longer to milk as the storm crept nearer. When I finally got the milking done and everything cleaned up and turned her loose, she lost all common sense and couldn't remember any of the routine things that she does twice per day everyday. She tried to go out the wrong door, she had to stop and taste everything along the way, whether it was eatable or not. I finally got her put back in the lot by the time it started to rain.

I was moving as quickly as possible because I needed to get into the house to turn off the computer before lightening struck again.

I went to collect Cooter who was tied to a concrete block in a nice patch of weeds. He had wrapped the rope around the block several times and while I tried to untangle him, he was giving me kisses and chewing on my hair. You can't slap him or push him away because then he thinks that you want to play and he plays too rough. I finally got him loose and by this time it had stopped raining but the storm was getting closer. I put Cooter in the horse trailer for the night instead of in his pen which is up the hill and farther away, so I had to get him a bucket of water.

Next I mixed the goat and chicken feed and managed to get them all fed without too many problems. Now it was back to chick herding, that is a skill that it takes years to perfect. You would think that they would go into the cage when their mommy went into the cage but not so. There is always one more thing that they need to do outside the cage before they call it a night.

Some of the chicks who were already safely nesting under their Mommy, would also think of something else that they needed to do and run out of the cage just as I got the last straggler in. I think that I used the word "stupid" a lot last night in dealing with both chickens and goats.

I finally got everything put up, watered and fed. I closed both big sliding doors and the side door, then went into the house to shut off the computer. The storm went east and never got to us. It did rain later in the night but all of my rushing around was wasted.

I think that I have a title now!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Surge Protector

Yesterday morning's rain was wonderful, I refuse to complain about the rain after last year's drought. It's the mud that keeps giving me problems. A river washed through our barn/house, so the whole barn floor is slippery and we have puddles in the barn. Water also came through the wall into my living room while I slept yesterday morning. I kept waking up to the thunder, lightening and pouring rain, that gave me a good excuse to just keep right on sleeping.

As soon as my Husband left for work, there was a painfully loud clap of thunder that was followed by a pop that shook the house. The electricity went out, then came back on, so I rolled over and slept some more.

When it quit raining, I got up and found my wet floors and of course no phone service. This sounded a little different to me when I held the phone to my ear, it was just dead. Usually when someone steals our phone lines or service is just out, I can hear dead air but this was just dead with no sound at all. I had the feeling that it had something to do with that lightening strike.

When my DH came home for lunch with the cell phone, I called neighbors on both sides of us and they both had service. So I whined around until I got my DH to wade through the mud to break into the phone box on the outside of the barn/house and hook a phone up out there to see if the problem was inside the house. Sure enough we had service out there, so I came into the house and started the process of elimination.

I found out that my high priced phone line surge protector had done it's job and gave it's life to save my phones and computer. So I rerouted a few lines around the surge protector and was back in business. However, my computer and phones are now at risk if we should get another storm. I will purchase another one because this proves that they actually work.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Morning

It is Sunday morning, the only morning that I have to get up early and get my back in working order so that I can make it to Sunday School. I start my day off with a cup of Costa Rican coffee whose coffee beans were grown in volcanic earth, it is a gourmet coffee thats flavor is smooth, never bitter. I put just a touch of sweetener in it and real thick, foamy cream that has just freshly been skimmed from the top of yesterday's goat milking.

I also have two pieces of toast with homemade butter, also from my goat's milk cream skimmings. Then I slather the toast with honey, but not my own honey, I am not brave enough to keep bees yet.

I have to make butter often because it's shelf life isn't very long, it isn't pasteurized. I was making it in a blender but found that it was just too much work to clean the thing up. So now, I just put the cream in a clean glass jar and shake, rattle and roll. You have butter in no time. Then you strain out the buttermilk, squeeze out the extra liquid, rinse the butter in cold water and stir in a little salt. You can either drink the buttermilk or give it to the dogs, cat or chickens. I don't care for buttermilk, but my animals love it.

After breakfast and blogging, I have to go feed my chickens, feed my dogs and cat, then milk the goat, if she looks strutted. She has been slacking off on milk production lately, so I may not milk her until after Sunday School.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Deam Wilderness

I was on the phone with my eldest Son while he was reading my blog Perfect Horses and Kids. He was having a wonderful time talking to me on the phone while being online at lightening fast speeds, he was telling me how fast he could pull up a page, then saying things like, "I have high speed internet and you don't.", he is just warped and cruel like that.

Anyway he was laughing as he read my blog about hauling horses in the bed of a pick-up truck, and he said that I should blog about how we used to make our kids ride under the horse instead of on top. I will tell that story in a future blog.

The area that we rode in was a national forest and back then there were no restrictions on where you could ride, you could make a trail wherever you wanted to. That area is now called the Deam Wilderness and the horseman's camp is called Blackwell.

We made most of the horse trails with motorcycles when I was a kid. My Dad and Uncles would haul motorcycles in and ride through the woods. They were logging there back then and they left big piles of sawdust and wood shavings everywhere, those were just perfect for playing with motorcycles on.

Can you even imagine a national forest that you could just use like it was yours? My Dad and Uncles drove their nice family cars and trucks back into the forest on logging roads and I remember getting hung up with those big old cars that were heavier than tanks. No one had 4-wheel drives back then.

We would sometimes get stuck on the frame of the car in a rut that was deep enough to hide a ferris wheel in. My Uncle would just jack it up and run the car off of the jack. You couldn't tear those old solid cars up.

My family would sometimes haul horses into the Deam Wilderness area and drive back a log road and just camp by the first pond we came to. We would spend a couple of weeks of vacation time swimming, riding, fishing and frog gigging. No one ever bothered us there, unless it was family coming to visit.

We didn't have to worry about hikers or DNR people walking in on us because nature, natural resources and conservation weren't popular back then. The only people that wanted to get out in that area were people like us and there weren't many people like us, we were way ahead of our time.

So while my eldest Son may rub in his high speed internet connection to me, I can always make him green with envy by talking about driving back to those ponds and spending a couple of weeks of seclusion in the summer. Not having to stay on the beaten path but being able to wonder where ever you wanted to go. That is something that he will never be able to do, well, at least not legally.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Writer's Block

I am trying to overcome this current round to writer's block, I have been struggling to think of anything to blog about. Pain is about all that I can think about right now. I don't really want to dwell on it but it continues to demand most of my attention.

My eldest Son and his family were here last night, he is a great inspiration, he is just a little off on the wrong side of normal. He has a great sense of humor and when he is around or when I am on the phone with him, he will bring up some odd fact or warped childhood memory that he says that I should blog about. The problem is that my aged mind can't recall what it was that he suggested when I have the time to sit down and blog.

During the course of conversation last night, my DH said something very irritating to me, I can't remember what, but I did threaten to divorce him. My Daughter-in-law jumped right in there and suggested that we both get divorced and we would go somewhere together. You see, I have this strange family, I love both of my Daugher-in-laws. I admire their fortitude for staying married to my Sons. It can't be easy, they are too much like their Father.

Happy Independence Day! Hopefully it won't rain out the fireworks like it did last year. We had a gully washer here last night, the barn is flooded again. We don't do much on the 4th of July if we can help it, this is the first day that my Husband has had off for weeks. So that means that he is going to have to catch up on all of the work that has piled up around here.

He works six days a week and we go to Church twice on Sundays, so it makes it hard to mow grass and bush hog pastures, not to mention trimming 156 feet that belong to horses and goats around here.

We do have a very accommodating neighbor who spends tons of money on fireworks every year. All we have to do is drive to the top of the hill to watch a fireworks display that rivals what they have in the nearest town. We don't have to fight traffic or crowds of people, although the word is getting out and we are starting to get lots of visitors to our neighborhood on the 4th.

The thing that makes it really nice is that we live in a valley, so with that valley behind us, we get a real good stereo with echo affect, it is like wrap-around sound. All of our horses are bomb proof, they stand at the top of the hill every year and watch the show with us, they love it.

I am a little worried about Angel though, it will be her first 4th of July because she was born at the end of July last year. She gets very nervous about loud sounds, but she is getting better. The first time we shot a gun around her, she ran off and didn't come back until the next day. We and our neighbors have shot several times since then and she doesn't like it but she doesn't run off. Tonight might cure her completely.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Changing Colors

Sapphire, our little black twin filly that survived, changed from black to brown and is now changing to blue roan. So, her name will fit her now.


Garnet, our sorrel blanketed colt is changing to either blue roan or gray, so his name will not fit him anymore.


Blue roan or gray?

Zircon, our little crooked legged sorrel leopard isn't changing colors but he is growing and his legs look much better, he also thinks that he is king of the world.


Red Leopard

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Big Toe

My big toe on my right foot feels as if it has a needle stuck under the it's nail. Now that is just irritating. I keep looking at my toe nail and there is nothing wrong with it. I guess I shouldn't complain at least I am back in a sitting position.

I was hardly able to walk on Sunday evening but on Monday I was flat in the bed not able to even sit up. I couldn't get on the computer or walk or even read a book. The last time that I had an MRI it showed four bulging discs with impingement, spinal stenosis and a lot of arthritis in both my cervical and lumbar spine. As a side note they tell me that I also have arthritis in my tail bone. Which makes it very difficult to sit for very long.

I haven't had much pain in my legs but now my right leg is starting to bother me and this thing with my toe. At first I thought that I had been stung by a bee or something. This was all brought about by an automobile accident several years ago. I thought that I was getting better but then this hit me and I have been a little down in more ways than one for the last few days. That is my excuse for not blogging much recently. But I shall pick myself up and soldier on.