Animals

New Digs for the Old Boys

December 5, 2016

We’ve spent plenty of time upgrading, restoring and cleaning our wonderful old barn.  My Loving Spouse has now added new function for the old space and our two old boys are very happy about the upgrade.stableOur horses are not young, sort of like us and winter can be hard on them.  Unlike us, they can easily loose weight in the cold winter months.  My Loving Spouse wanted to bring them in each night, so he set about making stalls for each horse.stable-1He managed to find lumber that matched the style of the barn and built the new stalls out of beautiful long planks.  He used EMT to create see through spaces for each horse.  Beau and SunDance can see each other, but not bite each other, which can be known to happen.stable-3He moved a bit of wiring, built a few doors, made mangers, added some straw and before I knew it, our horses were ready to spend the night indoors.stable-2The horses quickly got the hang of their new routine.  We fill their mangers at night in each stall, open the barn door and stand back as each horse makes their way to their new bedroom.  We can keep a better eye on each horse through out the winter, knowing exactly how much they are getting to eat and that each one can eat at their own pace.stable-4The barn looks so good and the horses are quite content with the new arrangement.

Beau and SunDance…every nag should be so happy.

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Farm Babies

August 25, 2016

There is a saying, that if you want to make God laugh, make plans.  Growing up, we had a dog and a cat, but even these must have been added to the household prior to any memory of mine.  Newborn animals were only experienced on Wild Kingdom or National Geographic.  There are no cows on Daleridge Road, La Canada, California and if you don’t believe me, you can Google Earth it.  As a child, I did learn to milk a cow at My Uncle’s farm, which it turns out is a very good thing.

Agnes is an amazing cow.  Cows are ‘wired’ to have ONE calf and this tends to pose a problem/situation/complication.  Once the calves are born, it seems we are not able to just stand back in the field and watch everything work out just as it should.  Fred was not nursing.  Getting Fred to latch on was very important as he needed the colostrum only Agnes could provide.  Agnes is a Black Angus beef cow, not a Jersey (I’ll stand quietly and be milked) cow.  Agnes, Fred and George were not the only ones tired from the day and just to keep it real, let me tell you My Loving Spouse and I were not happy with each other and each other’s ideas in how to move the cattle, get a calf to latch on to Mama and give them their shots….and we were loosing daylight.  We needed to get the herd into our coral, deciding to move the calves, believing that Agnes would follow.  Getting two newborn calves where you want them to go, is not as easy as it sounds and yes, everyone went everywhere and both Agnes and My Loving Spouse were saying a Bad British Word, while I was muttering ‘stuff’ under my breath.

Agnes’ bag was too tight.  Fred could not latch on.  Men you are on your own here to figure this out.  Any woman who has ever nursed a baby and that baby sleeps through the night for the first time, should have an idea what we are talking about.  I needed to milk Agnes.  I actually did get some milk into a bottle.  Agnes was trying to kick me.  My Loving Spouse was telling me that I was going to get kicked.  I was being tenacious/stubborn, but did not get kicked as I knew I needed to get this calf to drink.  I believe My Uncle would have been laughing, but proud.  Our Friend the Farmer came to lend a hand and managed to relieve the pressure on Agnes’ bag, as well as fill a bucket of colostrum (which is like melted ice cream), which I bottle fed to Fred.

Day Two of the twins life, My Loving Spouse and I promised each other to not argue.  I get up early and get Fred nursing from his Mama.  I am a happy Cattle Woman or is that Cow Woman?  My Loving Spouse then threw the calves, while I gave them all their shots.  I then sat on them and put in their ear tag, which is sort of like piercing someone’s ear, except hairier.  george

august calvesThe next few days, I keep a good eye on Fred.  I get him up and push him toward his Mama.  It takes a few days for him to realize he is part of this herd and Agnes a few days to remember that there are two of them.  august mama cowI think the twins are camera-shy, but they have commenced running around the field, which always makes us stop and watch!  Nothing is more fun than calves romping.

In the mean time Arizona the chick has grown!  At five weeks old, she is something of a teenager, but still usually found with her Mama Lucy.august chicksIf it gets chilly out, she reverts to complete baby chick.  “Mama, I am cold!”august arizona…and yes, I am blessed.

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21 Hours At Glory Farm

August 20, 2016

Somedays nothing happens here…

Other days it happens all at once.

We were having Mr. T and Z for a week.  stacy kids

We were still waiting on Agnes to calve.  My Sorority Sister and her Husband were coming to the farm for an overnight.  It was hot and there were plenty of flies.  I warned her about the flies…

“Oh, what’s a few flies among friends!”  She said, and with that great attitude we managed to cram almost all the aspects of our life into 21 hours.

They were here for about a nano-second and the tractor driving lessons commenced.  My Sorority Sister had already passed Tractor Driving 101 on Jubal, when she was here with the Sisters.  She quickly showed great tractor driving skills on Blue during Tractor Driving 201 and was offered the best of all crash courses…ripping stuff out!

You’re doing great!  Do you want to rip something out?’

YAY!

We quickly said ‘goodbye’ to a bit more of the old orchard and for a minute, thought we would be saying ‘goodbye’ to some of the fence.  All fences remained intact, she understood my great love of tractor driving and we commenced drinking wine, eating ribs from Manny, Moe or Jack and playing croquet before it got dark.stacy croquetMy Sorority Sister and Her Husband didn’t win at croquet, but they did score the straw hat point as well as the bringing cookies point, as they brought wine, plenty of it and it was the ‘good’ stuff!  I especially loved how they loved on our special kids, Mr. T and Z.

A farm style breakfast was planned…our eggs, our bacon and lots of our jam.

Agnes finally got in the act.

I woke up Z to come and watch Agnes, who was finally in labor.  Her Husband joined in….and it was exciting!  The full farm experience.stacy talonBefore we knew it, F-16 Ferdinand was born.stacy agnesIt took him awhile to stand up, so I was a tad concerned, but he did eventually make it to his wobbly feet.  I was planning on keeping a very careful eye on Agnes that morning, as last year we might have been able to save the second triplet, if we had known it was coming.  We did figure, that we could at least go in and eat the breakfast My Loving Spouse had made.stacy fred

We were not inside more than 15 minutes.  Her Husband had been packing their car for the off, when he said…”I think F-22 has landed.”  (Which is not actually the right farm numbering system, but you get the idea.)  We all raced outside to see, if in fact Agnes had calved again, which is not the norm, city people, cows usually have one calf.  Agnes had indeed calved again and the little one was up on its feet!stacy twinWith the white markings on the face, the parentage was clear…this calf’s father was one of the Hereford Bulls, while we believe the first calf’s father to be a Black Angus bull.  We’re not quite sure about the whole ovulation system of the cow, so we’ll leave it at that!

Number Two Son had been at work, so I had kept him apprised of the morning’s events via text.  Number Two (the original Harry Potter fan) had made me promise that, if Agnes had twins that we would name them Fred & George, as that would be the letters of the alphabet we were on, and of course it aligned perfectly with the beloved Weasley twins from Harry Potter.stacy messageWith friends, family, calves, croquet and even flies…

we are blessed.

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Waiting On Agnes

July 29, 2016

agnesAgnes is bred.  Every time My Loving Spouse says to her, “Hey, you fat old cow.”  I hush him, because even if it is true, it just isn’t nice.  Although, she is not really very old and she is not fat, she is bred/pregnant/great with calf.  We (me/My Loving Spouse/Our Friend the Farmer) thought she’d calve last week…or the week before…  We were wrong.  We are anxious.  We spend a lot of time looking at her teats to see if they are indeed filling up with milk.  We also stop whatever we are doing, if we happen to see her tail up, so consequently I believe we’ve watched every pee and poop that cow has made in the last few weeks.

It has also been hot and still.  Still, as in no wind, which makes it feel hotter.  99 degrees here is hot, and tends to keep one from wanting to do things like fix fences or paint the barns.  5 pm and it was still hot, there was a bit of grumbling, some thoughts of floating the canal, a bit more grumbling…  ‘Someone‘ said, ‘Are we going to be those kind of old people who don’t do anything fun?’  I went out to say to My Loving Spouse, “If I do all the work, will you go floating with me?”  There he was filling up the inner tubes for us to float the irrigation canal behind our home.  Our very own lazy river, cool slow water, where the view is of the sky, a bit of barns and lots of birds.  I grabbed two beers for the float, packed two towels and put my suit on.  We were off.  It was a lovely, cool delightful break from the heat and from cow watching, just enjoying the time that he is home.

We were home, showered, clean and grilling our late evening dinner, when we got the emergency painting call from My Sweet Friend.  She had borrowed our paint sprayer.  Her maiden painting voyage was going fabulously and she was completely convinced at the wonders of painting with a spray gun, until it clogged or  something.  Three phone calls later and she apologetically pulled into the driveway the back of her truck loaded with her paint bucket and clogged sprayer.  My Loving Spouse said,

“Oh, you just need to turn this….and turn this off…and I’ve never seen this before…”

I was not close enough to the action to hear, if he said a Bad British word, but if he didn’t, I am sure he was thinking it.patPaint sprayer…unclogged.  I quickly administered a Gin & Tonic to My Sweet Friend who was a bit beside herself.  As these things usually happen to me, I could not help but giggle (a few times) and returned to look at Agnes’s back-end.

We are blessed.

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In case you, my dear sweet reader have forgotten, I grew up on a paved cul-de-sac street.  We (the neighborhood children) walked on a paved street to our school.  We played on that paved cul-de-sac street after school.  Some of us had animals, a dog or a cat and occasionally a hamster or a goldfish (which doesn’t really count as they always died), city/town/domestic animals…and not a lot of them.

My Loving Spouse on the other hand grew up with a menagerie of animals.  He tells many tales of dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, horses, ponies and the like.  His father was at one time a Steeplechase Jockey, who recited this poem, as sage advice when buying horses.

One White Sock, Buy a Horse

Two White Socks, Try a Horse

Three White Socks, Look Well About Him

Four White Socks, Do Well Without Him

My Loving Spouse thinks it had sometime to do with his belief, that the white socks meant weaker ankles or their fetlock, which is what one calls a horse’s ankle (which I confess I Googled).  My Loving Spouse with a jockey for a father comes from a long line of horse people.  My father sold pajamas.  

My Loving Spouse is supposed to be our animal person.  My Loving Spouse is gone…a lot lately, which means I have been promoted to chief animal person.  My Loving Spouse has been talking about how he’s really, really interested in getting bees.  I have not been talking about it.  My Loving Spouse had a day off recently, except he had to go in for a meeting and a BBQ (Bad British Word).  This left me with the Farrier and two horses who needed to be shod.  My horse Beau had hurt himself over the weekend and I was concerned.  I sent My Loving Spouse this message as Beau started to bleed and the Farrier went into concerned mode.  When the official horse person is concerned, this unofficial person gets overwhelmed.

bees

Our Farrier is a very thorough, knowledgeable horse person.  Beau’s frog was bleeding.  (Non-horse people, yes, it is true horses have frogs, although whoever thought to name the bottom of a horse’s foot a ‘frog’ probably had too many pints at the pub!)  The Farrier carefully cleaned his foot, put medicine on it, cotton pad, a special foam pad to keep it all together and then taped Beau up with Scotch Duct Tape and then Vet tape.  It was quiet the procedure and I would have to do it all again the following day.  My having to do it all again was a tad concerning.

I did a lot of thinking about the situation.  The goal was to change the bandage and have the bandage stay on.  It was Beau’s back hoof.  I would have to hold the hoof up with one hand and bandage with the other, and keep the horse calm so he didn’t kick me with the same hoof.  Simple….

Beau and I have a pretty sweet bond, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t try to kick me, but I wasn’t as sure that I could do what the Farrier did and get the bandage to stay on.  It was time to dig deep, go to my roots, do it my way.  I gathered my supplies.  People tape, book tape, Gorilla tape, Vet tape and foam pad.horse care tapeI irrigated the wound.horse careI slapped on the dressing and vet taped up the hoof.horse care vet tapeThen I dug deep, and improvised by adding what I know….clothing.  My Loving Spouse gives up one for the team.horse sockI get the sock on and over the bandage, feeling pretty proud of myself.

One White Sock, Buy A Horse….horse white sockSorry, Beau is not for sale.  He is my buddy and I am blessed.

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Naming Animals

July 19, 2016

We take our naming of animals fairly seriously around here.  If you let kids/children/people under 13 get involved, they might not take it quite as seriously as we do.  However, it does add for some interesting humor in life.

The Old Ren Hen went broody.  She was determined to sit on her clutch of eggs until they hatched.  The only problem was, that the other hens were not very considerate of her situation.  The Old Red Hen picked the nest box all the hens like to lay eggs in to hatch her eggs.  Did the other hens, start laying in the other 4 nest boxes?  No, they just jumped into the ‘best’ box, which is not made for two hens and laid their eggs.  This meant that every day, the Old Red Hen had more eggs to try to hatch.  Chickens are not too smart and she could not keep track of which eggs she was working on and which she wasn’t.  I couldn’t keep track either.  When the time came for the eggs to hatch, most of them had not been adequately incubated.  As I came to check on her, if there were cold eggs in the box, not under the hen, I grabbed them and threw them across the field into the ditch.  Pretty soon we were down to just a few eggs.  We were concerned.  The Old Ren Hen had sat and sat, we hoped for a few chicks.  We even tried to find a few chicks to sneak under her, but it is not chick season.  Luckily, one egg hatched.  The Old Red Hen is happy and so are we.  Z is very excited about this and been following the progress of the Old Hen closely, so we let her name the chick.  Meet Arizona….Old red heanWe are waiting on Agnes to calve.  We are wondering how many calves she will have.  We are wondering, if the calf will have a white head or black.  Agnes went to the Prom with more than one date this year, two of the bulls were Black Angus and two were Hereford bulls.  We are not wondering, though what the calf’s name will be.  I was telling the story of the last calving births to my 3rd grade class.  In doing so, I explained my naming system, and that this year’s calf’s name would start with the letter F.  They said, “Can we name it!”

‘Well, you can try’

They started throwing out names for girls and boys, most of which made me laugh.  They did it though and we are ready with our F names….our little calf will either be Fifi or Ferdinand!

Number One Son and Number One Wife are working on names as well.  They/we are expecting a little delightful, darling GrandDAUGHTER in December!!  THE Grandson has been asked for his contributions to the naming pool.  THE Grandson is a book loving 2-year-old.  He thinks they should name his little sister….Clifford.

…and we are blessed!

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Puppy Placement

At six weeks old, the pups were off to the vet.  This required one strong laundry basket and one strong son to help me.  Number Two Son and I loaded them up and hauled them in.  Our basket of cuteness turned every head at the vet.Each pup was given a thorough check up, shots and […]

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Puppies and Kids

Working at a school makes one sort of famous in the school children’s eyes.  Working at the school and having puppies???  I have practically been elevated to ‘Royalty’.  It does help, that I’ll tell any class I enter, that I have “PUPPIES”  and would they like to see the pictures?  I was teaching first graders […]

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Puppies!

YES!  The puppies are here!  We were completely set to have them last Friday, because…well, My Loving Spouse had already been having our Mama Zoe sleep in our bedroom ‘just in case’ or ‘because I think it will be tonight’ for a week already.  We were sure it would be over the weekend, because after […]

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Puppy Nesting

‘We’ nested this weekend.  ‘We’ being My Loving Spouse, Number Two Son and I.  Puppy nesting…getting ready for the puppies.  Our little girl Zoe is getting big…BIG!  I cannot imagine how many puppies this girl might have, but I am trying to be ready, as I am sure all of the guys will be gone […]

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Plan Hatching

Two men (hatched a plan), two dogs (Labrador’s to be exact)… One in heat… Executed THE plan… As the famous dog Scooby Doo would say, “Rut Row!” Two men pleased with THE plan’s success… One wife wondering, if at the end of April Her Loving Spouse will be home or away driving for work, when the […]

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Barn Cats

These are barn cats.  They are supposed to live in the barn.  They prefer the house.  There is currently a very active skunk living under the barn, so now the barn cats really prefer the house and smell faintly like skunk.  I would normally say that we have too many cats living in the house […]

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