Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

To most I would seem slightly insane, but yesterday was blissfully perfect.  Finally a warm, sunny day with nothing on the calendar but farm chores.  Honestly, a good day of manure removal is a pleasure.  I was able to get a few things knocked off the good ole"to do" list.  

After a hearty breakfast of eggs from our lone laying Ameraucana, I headed out to do chores.  The old fence around the raised bed garden was removed, and the beds moved to their new home.  The gate to the goat pen was covered in a piece of fence in hopes that the fox won't be able to get in.  Multiple piles of manure were removed from the horse pasture, although that project is far from complete.  My youngest and I created a vermicompost bin for the worms she's been collecting and the kitchen scraps I've been collecting.  I wrestled my two Nigi does to trim their hooves.  Now that chore is completed for a while.  Finally, I ended my day going on a hay run.

Today is a windy, gloomy day with chances of rain and dreaded snow.  It's the perfect time to recover from a day of hard labor and to return to the craft projects piling up in the dining room.  Ahhhhhhh, relax!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bring on the Day!!

Miss Kay, Phil, Si, and Willie, and yes they are all girls.
I have a BIG Duck Dynasty fan in the family.

Most morning my brain feels schizophrenic over the sheer amount of work that needs to be accomplished now that winter is losing it's grip on the mountains.  The horse pasture is in desperate need of a clean up after collecting a winter's worth of manure.  The half of the goat pen I haven't gotten to needs to be finished.  I'm almost done with the buck pen, but I need a few wooden fence panels to complete that project.  Gardening, feeding, planting, building, my mind is a jumble of "to do's."  I find it incredibly difficult to focus on what is most important.

In addition to all of the muscle building, back breaking (literally) work I want to accomplish, I also have all of the farms critters well being on my "to do" list.  We've added 4 new ducklings to the family to replace the ones we've lost in recent massacres.  They have joined the 7 new chicks in the basement brooder.  Next week I'll pick up a few more little fluffy butts.  Golden Mill is getting in Russian Orloffs, and I need to replace the ones the fox ran off with.  

Yesterday I brought a buck rag home (it's a rug rubbed on a stinky buck) to bring does into heat.  Dauntless, who is still at my Goat Guru's house, should be covered in the next few days.  I'm waiting on the call to be able to bring Webi over for a "playdate."  Hopefully, by next week I'll have 2 bred does who will be expecting in the fall.  

The horses and goats need their vaccines.  I need to complete the goat pedicures and worm the group.  Pearl needs continued training.  She's getting better at that whole listening thing.  The list continues to grow and grow.  I need to finish here, so I can start outside.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love My Horsey!!

I have the most amazing, goofy horse.  Today I was out in the pasture with the kids and their friends.  My gelding, Flash, was doing his best to hide behind a tree.  The poor guy has issues! The kids and I headed up the give him some love.  I patted his cheek and he started nuzzling my face with his nose.  After while sweet Flash was resting his head on my shoulder dosing peacefully.  I sure love that guy!!!

Mmmmmm Breakfast

Super yummy smoothie this morning.   It's packed with fruits and veggies.   I mixed 1 cup spinach, half an avocado, 1 banana, a half cup frozen blueberries, leftover strawberries, an apple, 1 cup coconut water, and chia seeds.  It was so filling!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rebuilding the Flock AGAIN!!!!!

Here are the new chicks the girls and I picked up today after our latest mass casualty.  Thank you Golden Mill for having some great breeds available.  Today we brought home a Gold Laced Wyandotte, 2 Ameraucanas, 2 Lakenvelders, and 2 Dominques.  
Seven new babies to replace the 10 birds we lost.  Next week our new ducklings are set to arrive and in May we'll be adding Russian Orloffs, a buff Brahma, and a Delaware to the flock.  Here we go again!!!!

One Thing Leads to Another

I spent much of the day fixing the fence Lil Bit went through on Wednesday night.  Of course this repair job led me to remove the rest of the fence in the future buck pen and start to rebuild the pen.  It was a job I had been procrastinating doing.  Now, I'm nearly finished, one more side to go.  This is the tricky side, I need to put in a wooden fence to separate the buck and the does.  I'd like to enlarge the doe pen as well.  More projects, so little time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

And the Day Begins...

Yes, that is my future buck and yes, that is the one side of the fence that needed minor work.  I give up!!  Our darling pony developed founder over the winter.  Founder or laminitis, is a potentially life threatening hoof condition.  Lil Bit snuck WAY too much grain from his senior counter parts and that caused the issue.  It's funny Frank and Flash don't mind if Lil Bit snitches grain, but if Bitty gets near their hay they chase him off.  We've been putting him in the buck pen with a little hay until the old boys finish their grain.  Last night my animal loving daughter neglected to remove her pony from the pen.  At around 8:30 pm, after a gentle reminder from her mother, she headed out to rescue him.  Our 5 house dogs were out at that point and caused a terrible hullabaloo, which in my mind frightened Lil Bit who was trapped in a small pen.  Lil Bit jumped the fence in that spot thus bending the heck out of it.  I am now off to figure out  how in the world I'm going to fix a 6 foot fence.  Anyone want to trade a shot gun for a pony?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

From Triumph to Tragedy

After an eggstatic Monday morning when one of my new layers started laying, Monday night was wrought with poultry carnage.  Monday evening I got busy with dinner, cranky kids, exhausted stressed out hubby.  At around 10 pm I lay in bed, relaxing while reading a dog training book by Jon Katz.  Somehow while reading my mind began to wander.  Jon's farm ramblings often lead me to start thinking of my farm.  This is when I realized no one had shut the pop door on the chicken coop.  I threw on a coat and boots and high tailed it to the coop with our lab rottie mix, Chug, at my heals.  I quickly shut up the chickens, but discovered that the fox had beat me to the coop.   Nearly all of my new birds were gone.  I was sick!!  I was even more furious to discover that the wily little devil was sneaking under the goat gate, onto a goat house, onto the chicken coop roof, onto an old rabbit hutch next to the coop, and in.   Needless to say I am not a happy person.  Next purchase...shot gun!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Creative Juices Are Flowing!!

I really should be outside tending the farm animals, but here I sit in a whirlwind of creative thoughts.  These are the mornings when I get a late start because of all of the ideas swimming in my head.  I'm not sure I could type or write fast enough to catch the deluge in my brain.  These are the days my adult ADD is kicking in big time, and I have to use every bit of self control to be a functioning parent, teacher, and wife.  I would love to hole myself away in a quiet corner to take notes and create.  Alas, I cannot I need to do my best to pull away from the creative monster waiting to devour my time and wait until another quiet moment arises.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Oh the Weather Outside if Frightful...

I woke up to heavy, wet snow falling outside.  It looked as though God himself was shaking Parmesan cheese onto His pizza, large snowflakes falling straight and fast.  I've known this was coming, there's been talk all week of a foot plus of snow in the foothills.  Yesterday, I walked the streets of Denver in short sleeves enjoying the warmth and the cherry blossoms.  Today, I'm bundled up in my robe, hot coffee in hand wondering when I should get a fire going.  Preparations for the storm have been completed; water jugs filled, firewood brought in, extra diesel purchased for the tractor, Frank and Flash were blanketed despite the 50  degree temperatures last night at dusk.   Today, my family and I will hunker down, enjoy being home.  There are plenty of movies to be watched and craft projects to begin.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Knowing When to Stop

Here I sit with not one, but 2 bags of frozen peas on my SI joints.  Ugh!  We've been teased by beautiful weather the past few days.  I've been itching to start some of the zillion spring farm projects that need to be done.  So yesterday I started cleaning out the goat pen.  I spent the better part of the day schlepping fork full after fork full of wet, stinky hay out of the pen and I'm only half way through.  As much as I love being out in the warm sun, working on the ranch, my weak back is is preventing me from working to my full capacity.   Despite the 60 degree temperatures today, I kept myself in trying not to obsess over the work outside.  I need to be careful.   I'm useless to my animals if I can't walk.

Monday, April 7, 2014

When Will It End!!!

This is how I felt this morning!  After a generous helping of 1 foot of snow Thursday, the snow has fallen off and on all weekend.  I didn't expect a car covered in snow today, or snow all morning.  Yuck!  My 2 senior horses' blankets have been hanging on the pasture gate since Friday waiting to dry off enough to be put away.  I'm feeling slightly guilty for leaving them off in the first place, then again it snows and a short while later the sun returns to melt everything.  It could be worse, mud season is next!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Note to Self....

Dear Me, Myself, & I,
Today was the last day we will be allowed to attend any type of livestock sale without adult supervision.   We had a complete lack of self control.  The plan for the day was to attain 2 laying hens.  We returned home with 2 layers, 3 chicks, and a bunny.
These are the new rules:
1. You are not to attend livestock sales without a chaperone.
2. Do not attend sales with a cute, influential child.
3. Leave your purse in the car.
Thank you!

Happy Pony

Not my pony, there was no way I was getting pics of his theatrics.

Bitty is so much happier now that he's gotten a hoof trim and there's a little snow out there now to cushion the trim job.  He has been a bit of a grump for awhile now, not wanting to move much because of his feet.  Since his trim Tuesday, Bitty is a completely different pony.  As I headed out to feed everyone the morning of our big snow, my crazy Shetland pony was literally leaping for joy!  He was trotting around the feed bowls; bucking, kicking, dancing.  I just had to stop and watch his antics, not realizing he could get such good air.  I wish I had had a camera with me to capture his excitement, but the whole event happened so quickly there was no way for to run back for one.  It's such a good feeling to know Lil Bit was well taken care of by such an amazing farrier.

Silent Sunrise

It's a Saturday morning, and here I sit in the silence of the morning.  The house is quiet except for the hum of the bedroom fan and the occasional pitter patter of critter feet.  In a house with 4 cats and 5 dogs, someone is always on the move.  I love this time of day.  There's no one demanding my attention, the "To Do" list hasn't been seen.  I am able to steal a few precious minutes to center myself for the day, to find peace, to pray.

From the window beside my desk I can see the goats and Pearl emerge from their houses, the horses are slowly wandering the pasture looking for a pre-breakfast snack. Soon my day will begin, I'll be thrown into the craziness at full speed.  These are the moments I savor, that keep me sane throughout my day.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Simmer Down Now

When I become interested in something new, I go charging after it like a bull seeking the matador's red cape.  All of my time, thoughts and energy go pouring into my latest whim.  I have to accomplish everything right this very second, so it's done and I can relax.  Hours are spent reading, researching, planning, thinking; then I hit a wall and start to lose interest or accomplish part of my goal and the newness wears off.

As I sit here planning the future of Big Buck Ranch, I need to calm myself.  The whole project does not need to be completed by the weekend.  I can make my "to do" lists, it's fine to plan, but I need to slow down.  I cannot let this dream consume my life so that my family, health, and finances suffer.  Baby steps, must take baby steps!  I have a whole spring and summer to accomplish projects.  Though getting this little ranch off the ground is very important to me, I need to put the needs of my family before it.  Breathe, be at peace, relax, slow down, there is plenty of time.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Still Snowing!!

The very nice weather man said this would wrap up at 9am.  It's nearly 10:30, and it's coming down harder than ever.  I give up!!!

Building My Foundation

Baby Abner and Eli
They are now grown with babies of their own.

Last spring I added 3 beautiful Nigerian Dwarf goats to the ranch.  I was blessed to meet a wonderful woman, who is becoming my mentor.  Now it's time for me to "do" something with my small herd.  I have two gorgeous golden, blue eyed does.  I could have beautiful babies.  

WebiGayle and Sweet Candy are my foundation does.  To complete the foundation I'm adding a buck named, VooDoo.  He is the son of Eli, pictured above.  VooDoo is a feisty, black and white buck with lots of potential.  I needed a buck outside of Webi and Sweet Candy's lines.  A lot of the Nigis in the area come from the same breeders; you have to be very careful who you're breeding your goats to.  I'm also adding a black and white doe we've named Dauntless (I have a Divergent fan in the family).  She'll add some new genetics to the mix.  Now that my foundation is laid it's time to start building my new little enterprise.

Do You Want to Build a Snow Man?

Winter has returned to the Rockies!  I woke up to at least 8 inches of snow, with more piling up.  My younger girls homeschool enrichment was cancelled, and I decided to keep the bigger ones home.  I really don't trust our bus driver on the slick, twisty mountain roads.  I often question our school districts judgement, maybe competence, on days like this. We're in an area with mountain schools and city schools.  They never get as much snow in town, but we're all judged equally.  Hubby is even teleworking this morning.  I think it's a perfect day to snuggle in, in front of a roaring fire, and watch Frozen.  Do you want to build a snowman?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Horsey Spa Day

My horses get pedicures more often than I do!  Today my amazing farrier, Eryn, came out to trim up the boys' hooves.  I absolutely love Eryn, she is a wealth of equine knowledge.  She noticed that my 20 something gelding has a functional short limb on the right.  We have to trim that hoof differently and give him a rubber shoe this summer to make his legs even while riding.  Eryn discovered that poor Lil Bit, my Shetland pony, had foundered in the past couple weeks due to weather and feed changes.  She reassured me that there was nothing I could have done to stop it, he had foundered before.  I just need to switch up his feed, and he'll be back to normal in no time.  Frank, my elderly (late 20s) gelding, had fabulous hooves for his age.  I can't thank Eryn enough for her knowledge and ability to care for the boys.

Once pedicure time was over, my youngest daughter and I attempted to groom everyone.  Attempted, because the boys are shedding so badly, I could have spent hours on just the pony.  Whew, it looks like an animal was eaten in the pasture.  There is hair everywhere! Each horse was thoroughly groomed; including manes, tails, and faces.  Frank and Flash got their blankets put back on.  The weather is supposed to turn cold in the next few hours with the threat of snow; I need to make sure my two senior horses stay warm and keep their weight on.  Now everyone has healthy hooves and coats.  A good days horse work!  

Now I'm off to the feed store.  It's a ranch girls shopping mall!