Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nerve Damage?

As you may have noticed, I have not been faithful to my everyday blog lately. We have had some extra stress in our lives lately that I haven't written about here because it was just too sad and painful.

Garnet, one of our weanlings came down with either some kind of sickness or an injury, we are not sure what happened. We suspect some kind of nerve damage. It started out with him just not being able to stay with the foals. He is the oldest and had always been their leader and led them in running and playing. He would nicker at them but was reluctant to move and when he did move he took baby steps and acted as if every one was painful.

He had swelling on both sides of his neck like hard ridges, and one shoulder blade was much lower then the other. He acted as if all four feet were sore. We put him in a stall and started him on Banamine every four hours. He would not lay down, he didn't lay down for several days.

After awhile the ridges on his neck finally disappeared and his shoulder blades started looking normal again. He was able to flex his neck and lay down. Then his hind ankles started swelling, then it moved from his ankles to his right hind hock and his left hind thigh. His left hind thigh became so swollen that we were afraid that the skin would bust open.

He continued to eat grain well but he was losing a lot of weight. He was lying down most of the time and we couldn't get him up but he would occasionally get up on his own after he had banamine. His left hind leg, under the swelling was as cold as ice to touch and he drag that leg when he walked.

I talked to our Vet, who said to switch him to Bute because it is cheaper and might help more with the swelling. We switched and did see some improvement with the swelling. He also told me to start him on antibiotics, so we went from sticking him with a needle several times a day to just once. I crush his bute tablets and put them in applesauce, then syringe them into his mouth, he tolerates it and doesn't spit it out, so I guess it doesn't taste too bad.

He was really having a struggle getting to his feet and he was beating himself all up trying to get up in the stall, so we moved him back out to the pasture. The Vet had told me that there was hope as long as he could still get to his feet with the help of painkillers. But he said that if he got to the point that he could no longer get up, we would probably need to put him down.

This went on for a week and a half and on Wednesday morning, he couldn't get up. My DH was working that day and it was suppose to be sunny and hot. I had made up my mind to put him down that evening if he didn't get up that day. I continued his bute, carrying him water, applying fly spray and blue lotion on his many sores. He is covered in sores from both banging into things trying to get up and from just lying around so much.

But he did finally get up and walked a little bit, so we waited. He has been getting better ever since. He is well on the road to recovery now, he is still walking slow but he is staying with the others and is getting a little ornery about taking his medicine which is a good thing. I can, however, spray him with fly spray and blue medicine anywhere, anytime and he likes being brushed and having his throat scratched. So this horrible experience has been a benefit to a colt who would not let you touch him before he got sick.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dropping In

All of the hay is now in the loft, the loft is full and the hay elevator has been put away until next summer. We still have hay to put up but not in this barn/house.

Our main loft is located in the center of the barn with a lower tier on each side. One side is open, it doesn't have a floor in it and the other side is actually the roof of our little house inside the barn.

My young cousin was helping with the hay on Monday morning, along with a friend of his and our oldest son. After the second wagon had been unloaded and my DH was pulling it away to get ready for the next wagon. My cousin was following my son down out of the loft on a small ladder onto the roof of the house, my cousin skipped the last two rungs of the ladder, jumping onto the roof. At which point my son said later that he just disappeared.

I was washing dishes in the kitchen when I heard a loud crash and I thought to myself that they were being too rough and knocking stuff off of my walls. Then I heard my son very clearly say that my cousin had fallen into the house and someone had better go inside to check on him. I turned around and there he was in the doorway of the bedroom on his hands and knees, just looking at the rug. I am sure that he was wondering if he had landed yet.

He slowly pulled himself up to his full height and brushed himself off, I helped him out the door, where he declared that all was well. After he sat down outside in a lawn chair, we all questioned him about his well-being, then the jokes began.

My son is a quick-wit as opposed to a smart-aleck and there was just too much good material here for him. I know that I won't be able to remember every snide remark that he made throughout the rest of the day. But here are a few; He told him that when we said that he could drop in anytime, we didn't mean literally. He told us that my cousin enjoyed this job so much that it sent him through the roof. He also told him that he should apply for a job with the City because now he had experience dropping down through man-holes. He accused him of hitting rock bottom (our floor is concrete) and told him that the next time he needed a fall guy, he knew who to get. He also advised him that he would probably not make a good roofer. I am probably missing the best ones, but I'm sure that my cousin will remember them all.

He did end up unloading another hay wagon after his great fall because he didn't really want to get back in the loft, but when I called his mother the next day she said he was pretty sore and pretty bruised up. The hole was too tiny for him to fit through and when I finally got around to cleaning up the mess, I found his half opened pocket knife in the debris. It was one of those knives that clip in your pocket, so the squeeze was tight enough to scrape his knife out of his pocket and even open it. Which reminds me of another comment that my cruel son made, he told him that he might be able to get a job with a circus as a contortionist.

Thanks, Cuz, we really appreciate all of your help, even though sometimes you do fall down on the job, you are always willing to work and falling all over yourself to be a help.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Good Help

The rest of the hay wagons are being unloaded and put in the loft while I am typing this. Thankfully I am not having to participate because we have three able bodied, strong, young men here to take my place. They don't have as much experience as I have but my DH will manage somehow without me.

Way back when we were young, we put together a hay crew and put up hay for our neighbors in a large farming community. This was before the large round balers were invented, everyone square baled. I cringe to think about how much hay we put up each summer. We went through several high school age boys back then, they had to be tough to keep up the pace that my Husband set.

We were running several head of cattle and horses back then also, we had a large old barn that we would fill full of hay every year and had hay to sell all winter. The hay that we put up yearly now couldn't hold a candle to the amount of hay that we put up then.

Our loft will be full after today, then we will have to fill our friend's barn, she has room for about 300 bales. After that we will have to buy round bales because we will be out of storage space. My DH says that we will be paying about $4200 for hay this year.

I am going to attempt to go riding soon, I have finally talked my Husband into letting me try. I really want to ride again. I know I will have to brace up my back and I will have to break myself into it slowly but my dream is to be able to trail ride again. My Doctor says, no, but what does he know, he is only practicing anyway.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Goat Bustin'

Goats instinctively know when you are running behind or are in a hurry. They will choose these times to make life more difficult for you than they normally do. Don't get me wrong, goats are never well mannered but they can be a little less annoying at times.

Until you have owned goats, you cannot fully appreciate the Biblical references to people being either sheep or goats. I don't think that goats stay up late at night and plan strategies for how they are going to drive you nuts the next day, I believe that they just act on impulse. As soon as they recognize what you are trying to do with them, they react in a way that you least expect. I think that their ultimate goal is to keep you off balance and annoyed.

I was running behind last night and it had gotten dark on me, it keeps getting dark earlier every night in case you haven't noticed. Since three of my goats like to run through the three strands of hot wire that make up their gate, well, one of them is kind enough to jump over it, I have to tie Paris (the jumper) and Collette up before I take Calico and Cinder to the barn/house to be milked.

Collette always goes under the bottom strand that is 4 inches from the ground. But my biggest problem is Calico, she has started running through the gate every time that I get close to it, she will not wait for me to open it. She just bulldozes through the middle of it. This tends to be hard on gates and it also tends to make me irritable.

I started my milking off with Calico running through the gate last night. I did manage to get the other two tied up without a problem and opened the sagging gates for Cinder. Cinder and Calico both fought for position on the milk stand, Calico finally won.

Cinder joined me at the feed bin and buried her face in the sack of feed that I was trying to dip out of. It is physically impossible to remove a goat's head from a sack of feed unless the goat wishes to remove it's head, so you must give the goat a reason to remove it's head. Slapping, yelling and pulling does not work. Cinder does have tender ears, I take advantage of that quite often.

Both girls acted like they had never been milked before, they both kicked, snorted and stomped. Somehow I managed to get them both milked without spilling a drop.

All went smoothly until I put them back in the goat lot and tried to fasten the gates, they were all tangled and untangling three hot wires in the dark with nothing but a penlight isn't the easiest thing that I have ever done. My DH finally came to the rescue, he took the light and I went to untie Collette and Paris. Paris was no problem to untie but then came Collette.

We were all alone, just Collette and I, she is the biggest, strongest and most uncooperative goat that we have. Well she had pulled on the rope and halter so hard that the knots were just impossible to untie because they were so tight. She wanted to just pull out of the halter and be gone but I was not about to do that, although it would have been easier. I always like to make each experience a time of learning. So I was bound and determined that she was going to stand still and be patient while I untied the knot on her rope halter.

It wasn't that the knot was that hard to get loosened as much as it was that she kept trying to get away from me. I have never met a knot that I couldn't work loose but sometimes they take extra effort and time.

Collette and I struggled to understand each other but neither of us had much patience left after so much time had passed. It was still very hot and muggy, I was tired and sore and had no light. She just knew that the other goats were doing something that she needed to be in on or were eating something that she was missing out on.

It finally came to an end when she managed to wrap the rope around me and push all of her body weight against me and step on the top of my foot with her cloven hooves all at the same time. I screamed and tried to back away from the pain in my foot and backed right into the rope that was wrapped around my lower legs which managed to send me to the ground and pull Collette right on top of me.

She had me pinned down and I had her pinned on top of me by my weight on her rope. She flailed and flailed until I thought that she would beat me to death. My Husband finally came running after hearing the commotion.

He got her loose and I just sat there on the ground crying. He held her and looked at me for instructions. I told him to bring her to me, he did and I took her by the ears and pulled her to my face and we communed together for a little while. I think that she understood what I was saying to her without me even saying a word. Then I had him hold her while I felt of her udder to see if she might be kidding any time in the future. Her udder does seem to be filling up, so I decided not to kill her.

Friday, August 22, 2008


August has returned with a vengeance. It is still overcast here today but it is just plain hot and humid. When you go out the door you walk into a sauna. The air is too thick to breathe.

Our Grandson is coming to spend the night after school. I suspect that we will spend this evening and tomorrow in the pool.

We got around 70 bales of hay in the loft last night and still have three wagon loads in the neighbor's barn that has to be put up there on Monday or Tuesday when my DH has his next days off. I think that I have decided to go ahead and buy 50 bales of the pure alfalfa for my goats. That will have to be picked up and put in the loft this evening, if it doesn't rain.

My Husband is all for selling two of the does. He isn't putting any pressure on me to sell them all. He was also real understanding last night when he got home and discovered that I had bought a gun without his permission.

Our oldest Son called this morning to find out if Dad was mad about the gun. I told him that he was mad because I bought it out from under him. The person that I bought it from was needing money and I was suppose to tell my Husband about it but I went ahead and just bought it myself. It was just what I had been wanting. I told my DH that he never asks my permission when buying a gun, so turnabout is fair play. Besides that, you can always use a new gun, right?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Our hay is scheduled to be baled at 3:00. It has been so overcast today that I am not sure it will be ready. I keep looking at the weather radar and the forecast, just to keep my heart rate up and my panic attack going. The radar looks bad but the forecast isn't too bad, just a 20% chance of thunderstorms after 2:00 pm.

It is just so much more devastating to get your hay wet now that it cost so much. I won't be able to breathe at a normal rate until it is all in the barn loft.

I was offered the opportunity to buy 100 bales of pure alfalfa for my goats at $4.00 per bale. I am torn with the decision. Should I keep my goats or sell them? I could buy a lot of milk this winter with $400. Plus I wouldn't have to go out in the freezing weather to feed, water and milk. I would have more time to work on websites, rope halters, spinning and crocheting. I might even learn to spin on my old spinning wheel.

The goats are a constant problem. Three of them have learned that if you run real fast you can get under the fence without getting shocked. They normally don't want to get out but when I bring one to the barn/house to be milked the others just follow. I have been having to put halters on the escape artists and tie them up before milking the other two.

Cooter is always a problem too. I have to stake him out all day and move him 3 or 4 times per day. That will stop when cold weather gets here of course, because I will be feeding him hay. But I am going to have to fix a permanent place for him to get out of the weather once it starts getting cold. I kept him in the horse trailer this past spring but that isn't going to work for a long period of time. I don't want to breed Calico and Cinder back, so he can't go back into the goat lot.

I do enjoy my goats, I love taking care of them and milking. The excerise that I get from them is important. The patience, longsuffering and anger management skills that I glean from them is priceless. They certainly do not pay their own way. I love the milk but my Husband doesn't drink very much of it. So I have to decide if they are worth all of the money and the time that I put into them for the few benefits that I get back from them.

I think that I have already decided to let Cinder and Collette go but I don't know about the others yet. My DH keeps telling me that I need to sell Cooter but I really like him and I don't want to have to send my does out to have them bred, you always risk to much doing that and if you just go out and buy a buck when you need one, then you risk bringing in diseases.

So I guess the question is do I sell out completely or just cut back to two does and a buck?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Hay

The nice cool days are over, the hot August weather has returned. My pool turned green during those cool days and I had a time getting it ready to swim in again.

The neighbor has more hay cut for us, it will be ready to put up Thursday afternoon, if all goes well and it doesn't rain. I always get a little nervous when the hay is cut. As soon as all of this hay is in the barn, then we sure could use the rain. Our pastures are getting a little dusty.

Fall is creeping up on us. It is getting dark so much earlier now. I have a hard time adjusting to the early darkness. I am barely able to get my goats milked before dark and I am always stumbling around trying to put Cooter in his pen after dark.

I have a tiny flashlight that doesn't illuminate much area, so I could walk right into Bigfoot's arms without any warning at all or worse yet, right over top of a skunk. I guess that wouldn't be too bad either, it couldn't smell much worse than Cooter does.

The Girls

Yesterday was just fun, the girls were here. When my oldest Son called and he heard the commotion in the background, he asked, "if the girls were here?". That terminology will have to change when their new brother arrives.

The girl's ate, which is one of their favorite things to do, boys don't seem to really enjoy food like girls do. Then their Papaw took them swimming in what I thought was a really cold pool. Their poor Papaw thought so too, when he got in, but they didn't seem to even notice. Even the youngest one who is a year and a half didn't complain.

After swimming they ate again. Then I took the oldest two girls for a walk to where they plan to build a new house on the back corner of our property. We have to walk through the Enchanted Forest to get there.

The horses have many paths through the Enchanted Forest and the youngest girl who was leading the way kept asking which path to take. I told her that she would have to choose her own path. She had a hard time with that concept, she didn't like making that decision.

The oldest girl was walking behind me on the path, she was talking non-stop. Sometimes it gets a little difficult for these two sisters, because they both love to talk as much as they love to eat.

When we finally made it to our destination, the youngest girl announced that she was itching all over. The oldest girl asked where she was itching and she again said, all over. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized that there were some places that she wasn't itching, so she started a running list of all of the places that she wasn't itching, body part by body part.

We started on our journey back home, with the youngest still reciting different names for the same body parts. I told her that we would stop at the first good "sitting" boulder that we came to in the Enchanted Forest and she could scratch the places that itched. The good thing about living in the Limestone Capital of the World is that your Enchanted Forests have good places to sit down.

When we got to the first boulder, it was too big for the girls, ages 4 and 5 to get up on, so I had to lift them. I had a canteen full of sweet tea that I handed to the youngest one, who drank, then shared with her sister. Things were going fine, everyone was sharing and no one had even remembered to scratch.

Then that all changed when the oldest one thought that the youngest one should let her hand the canteen back to me to drink and the youngest one wanted to hand it back to me. So, tempers flared and the oldest one gave the youngest one a slight shove, to which the youngest one answered with a grab and a vicious pinch that resulted in a sharp and loud slap across the cheek. It all happened so fast that I had a hard time separating them.

The peacefulness of the Enchanted Forest was then shattered by the wailing of the youngest Princess. Enchanted Forests tend to lose their charm when the beautiful Princesses are wailing. I finally managed to distract her enough for peace to return. We continued on our journey, talking, listening, choosing paths, picking flowers and picking up rocks.

All in all, it was just a perfect day, they caught some chicks with the help of their Daddy and Papaw. Then of course, they helped me milk.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mowing Pastures

I have always enjoyed mowing the pastures but since we got the new tractor, my DH hogs it all of the time. He tells me that my back couldn't take it but I think he just wants to do it until the new wears off.

He is aways mowing, he no sooner gets one field done and it is time to start on the next one. He is spending all of his days off on that tractor. The thing that worries me is that he goes to sleep while mowing. He dozes off anytime he sits still for very long.

He has also discovered the one thing that he doesn't like about the new tractor and that is that the exhaust comes out the side, so that you get all of the heat blowing right back on you. The side exhaust was my idea, I wanted it because he always likes to mow under low hanging limbs and that tends to knock off top mounted exhaust pipes. I guess I was wrong on this one.

He did get one horse rode this morning. I had someone here on Saturday that is interested in Lulu, she is one of our young AQHA mares. We bought her as a green broke horse a year ago and have never been on her. He didn't have any trouble with her, she saddled nicely and accepted him on her back. He rode her around in circles with just a halter and lead rope for awhile but it was hot and dusty, so he didn't ride her for very long. They ended on a good note, she did very well.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I looked out the bedroom window this morning and saw my old gelding Dan lying down. He was all by himself, the rest of his herd were pretty far away from him. Since he is the alpha male of the herd, I knew something had to be wrong, so I went out to check on him.

When I got close to him, I wasn't even sure it was him. He looked almost sorrel instead of very dark brown. He was covered in mud and dust, probably from a rough night of colic. But I wasn't sure what was wrong with him yet, he wouldn't get up for me, he was groaning, but he wasn't rolling or looking at his belly. I could hear loud bowel sounds.

I felt of all of his hooves, they were all cold, his face and even his nose were cold to touch. I looked at his gums and they were a nice pink. So off to the house I went to get a shot of banamine. I estimated that he weighed about 1200 lbs, so I pulled up 12 mL.

I don't like giving shots, that is what I married my DH for, but he was at work, so I would have to do it. Dan has very sensitive skin and hates shots. Since he wouldn't get up for me, I didn't think that it would be hard to do. I would give it to him IM in the rump. I didn't even take a lead rope.

I got him stuck and was pushing the banamine in, when he jumped to his feet. I did manage to get the needle pulled out. I had only gotten 4 mL in him, so I would have to stick him again.

He just stood there looking at me and my syringe. He didn't act like he could move. So I stuck him again in the neck, well, he could move and off he went with the syringe flopping, it finally fell out.

Now he won't let me get close to him, so I guess that I did get something accomplished. I at least got him on his feet and running, which didn't hurt him at all if it was colic. He hasn't laid down again, so I guess he is better. I will just have to watch him today.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Right On Time

My little brown banty hen hatched out 7 chicks this morning. She is done and has left the nest with the new babies. Only one egg didn't hatch, that is a pretty good percentage. They are tiny little things, smaller than mice, all different colors. They are already fighting amongst themselves and running around looking for food.

It is always amazing to me how they hatch out right on the 21st day. If all animals were this precise then I would get so much more sleep during foaling and kidding season.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's Still Here

We have been away from home for a couple of days. We were gone all yesterday afternoon and most of the day today. Nothing seems to have fallen apart, the farm and all of the livestock are still here. I didn't actually count heads but all of my goats and chickens were here, the dogs were here but I didn't see all of the horses. It would probably take a couple of days before I missed one of them because there are so many.

One of my beloved Aunts passed away, so we have been at the Funeral home and at the Funeral service. We have spent the last couple of days with family that, unfortunately, we only see when a family member dies. It is so nice to see them but it is always so hard to let one of them go. Death is inevitable and when it is someone who has dedicated their whole life to serving the Lord, it is a blessed event, but it is always hard for the family and loved ones to say goodbye.

It is a time of reflection and memories, sometimes regrets, things that you wish you could have done or said before they left us. No one is ever ready for death to come to a loved one, there is just no way to really prepare.

This Aunt helped me though a very difficult time last September and I am thankful that I had that time to reacquaint myself with her. I had forgotten what a selfless person that she was, but it all came flooding back about the things that she did for me when I was a child. Someone told me that they had never heard her say an unkind word, I can't recall one either.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not Perfect

So, I am not perfect. I do make mistakes. My DH seems to be more than happy to point them out to me.

In my previous blog, I said that we had gotten 103 bales in the loft, it was actually 302. My mind said 300 but my fingers typed 100. We also caught the chick with a fish net, not a fish nest.

It seems no matter how many times I reread these blogs, I always have a few errors slip past me. So, please take me for what I mean and not what I write.

I have corrected the error of my ways in the previous blog. But please feel free to warn me when I make a mistake. When my Husband finds them, he just gets way too much joy from it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We managed to get 302 bales of hay in our loft, that is a start. After the hay work was done and after the milking was done yesterday evening, I went out to the goat/chicken shed to look for eggs. I heard the loud chirping of a chick. Normally I would have thought that it was my one remaining barred rock chick under the shed but I had seen the barred rock chick out in the grass right before I came in the building.

The realization hit me and a ton of guilt fell on me. The other barred rock chick who had disappeared last Wednesday morning was in the hay barrel. We have a plastic barrel with a hole cut into it that we feed hay to the goats in during the winter months. Somehow that chick had gotten into the barrel and probably the goats had pushed the barrel opening against the wall.

I turned the barrel around and let light into it for the first time in 7 days. The chick was running around and was hard to catch. I could not believe that it was still alive after all of that time with no water, food or light. Now I will have to keep that chick even if it is a rooster! I carried it to it's sister out in the grass and set it down. It started pecking at the grass immediately, it wandered all around the lot searching for food.

The two young men who were here to help us put up hay, herded it toward water and it found Angel's dog food and gobbled some of it up. Then it found the milk that I had put out for Angel and drank for a long time. Finally it found the water and I thought it would never stop drinking. It continued to hunt and peck until after dark, all of the other chickens had gone to roost, we finally had to catch it with a fish net and put it up on the roost next to it's sister.

Now that I think back, I can remember hearing it's cries several times but I always assumed that it was the other chick under the shed because she stays under there most of the time when it is hot. I feel really bad about not checking there when I realized that it was missing. It was in there during some very hot and humid weather.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

99 Bales

We got 99 bales of hay in the loft this evening. We will pick up what's left in the field tomorrow after the dew is off of it. I have a blister from dragging the bales all the way to the back of the loft with my hay hook. It gets easier the more hay that you get in there. The dragging distance shortens with each load.

I also got two rope halters done and ready to be shipped out in the morning. My hands are sore and swollen but hopefully they will recover tonight in time for more hay and more halters tomorrow. I will be so happy when our loft is full, about 800 bales, and our friend's barn is full, about 300 bales. It would be nice if we could also fill the neighbor's barn but if not, we should have plenty of big round bales to see us through.

There doesn't seem to be a hay shortage this year and the prices are coming down. I don't think that the farmers around here are happy about it, but we sure are.


Here we are, August 10th and still no hay in the barn. We were suppose to have around 300 bales ready to bale this afternoon but yesterday proved not to be a good day for curing hay. So it isn't even raked yet. Hopefully it will be ready to rake in a few hours and we can get it in the loft this evening.

All I have to do is drive the truck and trailer around in the field, then get in the loft and use a long hay hook to pull the bales out of the elevator's way. The loft floor is nice and slick, so that part is easy. I used to be able to heft, throw and stack bales but not anymore. The hardest part for me now is getting into the loft, I hate ladders.

I am close to finishing a barrel racing website and will be able to start on a local community website soon. When that is done, I plan on completely redoing our website, it gets totally neglected.

I also have 39 horse rope halters to make and ship out as soon as possible. I can only do so many halters per day or my hands and fingers start cramping up on me.
Tying and tightening around fourteen knots per halter tends to make your hands complain a bit.

Between knot tying and goat milking, I have quite a grip. I never have to ask my DH to open a jar for me anymore. When my back Doctor tests my grip by having me squeeze his hands, I can bring tears to his eyes. He doesn't ask me to do that much anymore.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


We were in town yesterday and my Husband stopped to talk to an older gentleman who had bought a horse off of us many years ago. He said that he had come coon hunting on the back side of our property awhile back and that he would never come down here again.

Indian Creek runs on the back side of our property but we also own a strip of land across the creek that has the remains of Bridge Church on it. There is also a very old Cemetery there and an old stagecoach road that is the actual border of our property.

When we bought the land we were told that this was the only place that stagecoaches could cross Indian Creek. There is a county road and a bridge near that crossing spot now but the county road doesn't follow the same route that the old stagecoach road took.

We have a place where you can pull off of the road into the Church lot that is very secluded. This is where the man was coon hunting. He said that they heard a horse come running down the road that dark night. Since we have horses this was possible, but he said that there was no horse. They looked everywhere and though they could hear the clippity clop of the horses hooves running on the road, there was nothing there. I guess it scared them bad enough that they won't come back.

Friday, August 8, 2008

One Down

It has been a busy week for us, we have had several things going on, I haven't had much time to blog. Biscuit, our yearling leopard filly did go to live at her new home in Texas on Tuesday.

Sometime on Wednesday, one of my Barred Rock Chicks disappeared. I saw her early in the day but later in the afternoon she was gone. I think that several of my banty chicks are roosters and whoever is taking these chickens must just prefer hens. Here is a picture of some of my banty chicks challenging each other, they are probably roosters, I can't tell yet. But we knew that both of my Barred Rock chicks were hens.

Yesterday morning while I was outside, I noticed something was off. I couldn't put my finger on it at first but then it dawned on me that I could hear nothing but silence. All of my chickens were hiding and not making a sound. Usually they are a pretty noisy bunch, so I started looking around.

There were two small hawks flying around overhead. Normally I know when there are hawks about because the crows are constantly calling them names and trying to run them out of their air space. The crows were away from the post for some reason, leaving my chickens unprotected. I got my camera and took a picture of one of them. They finally gave up the hunt and flew away.

Later in the day, I noticed that the chickens were still quiet, so I looked around again and didn't see anything, but it gave me a strange feeling every time I went outside.

I had taken my glasses off to fix my hair, I went into the bedroom for something and passed by the window. I saw what I thought was one of my Rhode Island Reds on the far side of the goat lot. With my glasses off I couldn't tell what it was for sure but I have never seen my chickens in that area. I got my glasses and looked again, it was a fox, he was just relaxing, scratching and rolling in the new mowed grass.

I grabbed up my rifle and slipped out the door. It was a long shot for a rifle but I embarrassed myself again anyhow. He jumped away from the spot where the bullet hit the ground beyond him. The sound of the rifle didn't scare him because I have desensitized him to gunfire because I have shot at him so many times and missed. He walked away a few feet then stopped in the driveway and looked back at the place he had been, he was closer to me now and a much better shot. I missed again and he went into the high weeds.

I knew that he would circle around the barn/house and all I had to do was wait on him, so I went into the house and got a different rifle. Maybe it was the rifle and not me, right? I watched the goats who were watching him, so I knew right where he was. I stood inside the back door of the barn and waited for another perfect shot. But something went wrong, while I was waiting with a clear view of where he would have to come down the hill, he was already there. I was a bit confused but I had a good shot, so I took it. I missed again and again he jumped away from the spot I hit and came towards me. I had another perfect shot and of course I missed again.

Four missed shots in one day. How could I live with myself? The shame of it all. I went to Camp Meeting last night and when I returned home, he was sitting on top of a row of big round bales of hay that are sitting beside our driveway. He looked at me and laughed. I drove down the hill to get my gun and try again but he was gone when I got back.

I wouldn't have minded him so bad if he would have taken roosters instead of my hens. But this morning when I went to get Cooter out of his pen to stake him out. Angel started barking at something at the top of the hill. I looked up there and saw two foxes chasing each other and playing. I yelled for my DH and gave him a chance to deal with the problem. Though it is hard for me to admit, he got one of them with his first shot. I will never live this down.

I did find out why I was confused about the fox's location the day before, there were two of them. I am sure that we will have to deal with the other one at some point. They seem to love this place. Since we got Angel we hardly ever see or hear Coyotes but we always have skunks and foxes. They know now that she can't get out of the goat lot, so they are safe from her. They also know that I can't hit the broad side of a barn, so they are also safe from me.

There are two wild turkey hens with chicks staying here also. I don't know why the foxes prefer my chickens to the turkey chicks, maybe they are harder to catch or the turkey hens are meaner than my roosters.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The price of everything is going up. I have a hard time understanding people's motives. Since times are hard right now, they will increase their prices, so that they don't have to lower their standard of living. But if people can't afford to pay the higher prices, what good is it going to do you?

Everyone gripes about the price of gas but they won't stay home, they continue driving because it is what they have always done and they can't discipline themselves enough to stop. It seems to me that if we really wanted gas prices to come down, we would stop driving unless it was absolutely unavoidable.

We have had to stop some things, we don't just run to town because we need one or two things. Sometimes our cupboards are pretty bare. We don't seem to be losing any weight though.

The price of feed is putting small homesteads and the small farmer out of business. Unless you are totally self-sufficient. The equipment that you need to become self-sufficient is high, feed is high, we blamed last year's hay prices on the drought but we don't have a drought now and no one is coming down on their hay prices. So here we are in the first week of August, with 30 some head of horses and 5 head of goats to feed this winter and no hay in the barn.

There is plenty of hay out there but everyone still thinks that it made of gold. I understand that fuel prices make the hay more expensive to produce but there seems to be some greed involved also. The thing is, if people don't have the money to spend and if wages are not increasing, who is going to buy their hay? The animals will have to go, then who will buy your hay next year?

I have always told my husband that I felt sorry for people who have money, then lose it. They are used to having whatever they want. Then when the local factory shuts down, they lose their houses or have to readjust their lifestyle. 

I have never experienced this myself because we have never had any money to start with, but it has to be hard on them. Their stress level at the thought of not being able to pay their bills anymore must be unbearable. I would think that they would also have a lot of regrets for not planning ahead and preparing for an uncertain future.

You can never predict what lies ahead of you, so you need to do the best you can without living foolishly. Constant refinancing of a home to buy more toys, insures constant pressure on the nervous system, anxiety attacks and worry. 

Why not concentrate on paying yourself out of debt while the money is coming in and always make sure that you have the cash in your hand before you buy any toys or take any trips or even eat out? But we are a credit driven society, perhaps what we are going through now will wake some people up.

It is very sad to see many of our local businesses closing their doors and many of our friends and neighbors, some who are close to retirement age, facing unemployment after working for many years at those local businesses. Where do they go to get a new job and start all over again?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Too Much Milk

Since I sold Copper, I am milking two goats each day, that results in a lot of milk. It also results in a lot of dirty dishes and no refrigerator space. My sink is piled high right now but I did give my Son one and a half gallons of milk last night, so that freed up some space in the fridge.

I need to find someone to buy part interest in one of my goats, so that I don't drown here. I am already feeding milk to my chickens, dogs and cat. My Schnauzer looks like she could pop at any given moment and my cat is too fat as well. Angel usually gets milk once per day but she must still be growing because she isn't bloated like the other two.

Here are a couple of pictures of our fat cat, Garfield. He loves being packed around by our Granddaughters. You would think that he would run when he sees them coming but he just loves the attention.

Friday, August 1, 2008


One thing that I never learned to do when I was a kid was swim. I always regretted that, I wanted my Grandchildren to learn, so I bought a swimming pool a few years ago. Our oldest Grandson, has spent a lot of time in the pool and learned to swim underwater very quickly. He could just not figure out how to swim on top of the water or even dog paddle. Finally this summer he has learned to swim like a fish, he can swim on top of the water, dog paddle and float.

We spent a couple of hours in the pool yesterday, we raced from one side to the other many times, using every form of swimming that we could think of. He can't beat me but it won't be long before he will be able to.

I am jealous of the fact that he can swim on the bottom of the pool, I have not mastered that yet and may never be able to. I am a natural floater, no matter how hard I try to swim completely submerged, something is always surfacing.

I love my pool, it is the one place that I can be very active and not have back pain. I also love taking care of a pool, I got that from my Dad. He took care of the swimming pools for the Monroe County Community Schools before he died of cancer. It was at a time when they first started putting pools in schools. He had worked in maintenance for the school system for many years and they sent him to training when the first pool was built.

I used to go with him to the big filtration room at Bloomington North High School in the evenings and watch him test the water and add chemicals. That huge new pool was always sparkling clean and clear.

I don't use any chemicals in my pool except for bleach. I have a large sand filter and it seems to do it's job. My pool water was clear enough yesterday that I threw 10 mostly clear marbles into it and my Grandson dove for them.

My goal is that all of my Grandchildren learn to swim. I think that just having plenty of access to a pool at a young age is the key to learning.