Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chicken rides !!

Everybody has to get in on the act, now that Patriot has had someone up on his back.The excitement is spreading throughout the farm and Dolly is now accepting chicken rides !!! 

"I might as well have a little lunch while I'm up there", said my little bandy hen as she pecked away at hayseeds .Dolly stands under the trap door as I throw hay down into their feeding trough below.She receives a daily bath of fluttering hay because she refuses to stand anywhere else.

Patriot , my Belgian, has a new vision in life.He is in training .The goal is to learn to drive a cart, wagon, or manure skid. Our trainer, Melissa,is used to training mini's and standard horses but this is her first Belgian.However, the basics never change and she's doing a fine job .

This has become a novelty and surprise to my neighbors , a shock actually.They drive by in their pickup trucks and stop at the fence to watch.They are accustomed to seeing my horses mosey about the pasture or yawning in the sunlight as they lean against the barn wall.My round pen has stood idle for nearly 2 years since we bought it.Trying to find a trainer willing to come to my place has been the hold up.

Yesterday , he trained with the saddle .

 Glory be !!! She's up there !!  I was afraid he would buck and catapult her into the pond but no, he was a good boy.
 His reward is returning to his mare(Dolly) and the  filly (Misty), that's all he asks. Misty, the black Percheron cross below, pesters to draw his attentions from his lessons.She's next.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Country Winter

Winter brings beauty and great charm to country life but it also is a time of sadness . The reality of farm life is new life and unexpected death.A bandy hen gets stuck in a hidden place and breaks her neck trying to free herself.A bandy rooster drowns in the 100  gallon horse water trough reaching too far to get a drink,;predators  decimate a new flock of peeps,sickness  wipes out a new flock of expensive turkey peeps or the ewe sheep that dies after childbirth complications.A newborn lamb may be found in a stall completely encased in its sac.It never took a first breath. An old horse dies in a February deep freeze.
I keep my animals well protected . They have the choice of going in or out of the barn at will.Old horses have coats to cover them.Winter is nature's culling time I suppose , despite all we do to vet and medicate, feed and protect.I just never know what a day will bring .

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jellybean the mischief maker

        Monday I was in the pasture by the round pen as my horse trainer, Melissa, was teaching my Belgian Horse ground manners.Apparently, this was intriguing to my goats as they watched out the barn window. Several glass panes were missing from the square panes and Jellybean, my goat, stuck his head out to get a closer look. As he drew his head back in, his horns got stuck on the wooden separations. He panicked, OF COURSE !! and he pulled back with such force that the entire window frame yanked free from the barn wall. I didn't see this at first. All I heard was a sudden screaming of goats and sheep and a clamour. Then smashing of glass and crashing into the rear metal door of the barn. At first I thought sheep and goats were fighting over something terrible and I heard a 'baaaaing' voice of terror that I never heard before! I ran over to the missing window and looked in. All was QUIET!! ( HUH???) Sheep were lying on the floor chewing cud.The goats were standing atop the old chest freezer staring at me. Mystery.....I resumed the lesson with Melissa.After she left, I entered the inner barn to investigate when all became clear. Jellybean's horn were stuck...he pulled the window free from the barn wall and ran around the barn with the window on his horns in a panic.He smashed into the rear metal door of the barn when it finally released from his horns and dropped to the floor. Then all quieted down.

I decided to take the goats for a walk in the woods to settle some of the anxiety.The woods  was new domain for them. They hugged my legs and heeled every step of the way. It was unfamiliar territory . We didn't walk alone. As always, the dogs and cats came a-running to hike with us. My turkeys will also do that, but not this time.

The barn window remains an open square hole.The pigeons have made it a roosting place.
My goats loved the walk in the woods.Streams to leap over, giant dead falls to climb and jump from. (:> Monday was a really fun day!

Baby Lambs

Our baby lambs were born Feb25th,2013 I named them Lucy and Skippy (a girl & a boy).This is Lucy being comforted by her Mama, Sweetpea ,as she nurses. Monday was banding day and immunizations.We band their tails because normally, sheep have long wooley tails that become encrusted with dirt, debris and are subject to fly strikes if not docked.Sheep require maintainence  and love.In return, they bombard you and may ram you if not castrated.However, they do love to be kissed and petted and will kiss you back and affectionately sniff your face , ears and hair.
 All my sheep and goats have names and I have come to quickly recognize and identify each of them.Jesus said, "I  AM the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."
 Jesus said "And the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.And when he putteth forth his own sheep,he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.And a stranger will they not follow,but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."John 10:3-4  Have you ever noticed the number of places where God mentions naming ? One of the first mentions is when He created the first 2 people on Earth. Genesis 5 says "He called their name Adam in the day He created them".Eve had her husbands nameoriginally . Then Adam called her woman and then he named her Eve. The Bible tells you what the significance of those names meant. God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would name them. Also, the Bible tells us that every star, EVERY star has been given a name by God. Naming something places value on them. We have great value to God.Someday, He says He will give us a new name. It will have significance to Him.
As I held the lambs lap on my lap, they settled  and began to sniff my hair, my ears and my face.They were away from their mama for the first time .I could feel the heartbeat in their little chests slowing from panic to trust and finally safe quiet. Of course, my son the helper came by and I quickly ZAPPED them !   HAH!  It had to be done. Sorry!  BUT!!  Strangely enough, only 20 minutes after banding & a needle, I walked to their new pasturing place and they came over to me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

     This is my handsome boy, Patriot, my Belgian. I was so blessed to finally~ FINALLY !!!! find an instructor that was willing to come to my farm and give ground manner instruction and driving lessons.( NO!!  I will not let Patriot drive the car or pickup least not for the first year. )   (:> Well, he did well  with his first lesson today and I am encouraged.I have spent a lot of money on harnessing , hames, a Pioneer double seater forecart,double trees, single trees, bridle, horse collar and pad ~but for 8 years, no instructor....UNLESS I had a trailer and was willing to trailer the horse there for lessons. Well, I don't have that.So, hopefully my other 2 horses will benefit from what I am learning .
    Why didn't I just go ahead and follow the DVD instructions of Clinton Anderson and lessons on RFD  TV? I have gotten injured on this farm from things I NEVER expected or picked up on in time.Injured ribs, don't have to tell me twice.The next time it could be my skull.
    When I got his big horse collar, I placed it around his neck, snapped it in place and Patriot suddenly stood erect and proud with an expectant look on his face. It was a Belgian's tuxedo (:>   Soon, I hope if all goes well, he will cease to be unemployed and have a job to do. Isn't that what most of us want?   (:>