Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Flower Power

I am not a gardener.  Which among my friends is abnormal.  Ah well...
I would much rather muck out a stall or clean out the chicken coop than weed.  And my flower beds back me up.

But...

There are some that are fail-safe.
They are past their zenith, now, but, boy they were lovely a couple of weeks ago.










Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Eeuuww Factor

Most creatures don't spook me and send me scurrying.  Well, maybe wasps.  Not spiders, not snakes, not most insects.

But then there are slugs.

Gross, gross, gross.

The buggers show up on the sides of the donkey water trough.  OK, I need to fill the darn thing and they're in the way.  So, it's a matter of picking each suctiony slimy beast off and sending him/her on his/her way in the weeds.


This is a pretty good photo of the little slimer, you can see his little horny things by his head.

I can't tell you how slimy my fingers get after this ordeal.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.
At times there have been up to eight in the trough at one time.
Let's throw in an extra yuck for good measure.

It occurred to me to take a quick look-up of slugs to appear somewhat knowledgeable.
No, don't wanna.

Thank goodness I'm not finding them everyday, as I was about a month ago.  Don't know why.  Don't care.

Yuck.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Chicken Moochers

It seems we are surrounded by food moochers.

Dudley (big dog on the right) believes it is his inherent duty and right to clean out Gunner's food bowl after Gunner has concluded the meal.

Same rules seem to apply to the donks, except the rules change as to who has the god-given right. When donks are given their teeny portions of grain or supplement, those bowls are cleaned to the n'th degree.  Hard working tongues.

Well, now the chickens feel compelled to tackle the donkey bowls following beet pulp days.  As part of the regime to bulk up Luigi and Gabariella (we've talked about this before, please take notes) they receive a modest portion of beet pulp on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  For those horse owners out there, YES, I soak thoroughly in hot water for an hour.

Chickens are drawn to the remaining micro-specks.

  



Jo (always immerged in the bowl), Sweet Pea and Buffy investigate.























The bowl the pulp was soaked in is always of interest too.












And speaking of Jo, and her penchant for sitting in bowls (if you recall, she likes to sit in the treat bowl in the coop), she joins the ranks of manure queens.



I've only observed one other of my flock do this, and for the life of me can't remember if it was Golda or Emmy Lou (both sadly gone).

I must tell you one other story which, unfortunately, does not have accompanying photos or video.
A few days ago, I was just inside the barn, tending to some chore, when around the corner comes Sweet Pea running full tilt and slides to a stop right in front of me.  Just like your favorite baseball player sliding into home base.  No, there was no threat, no predator lurking.  She thought she was missing out on a treat.  It was probably the funniest thing I've seen one of the girls do and laughed at her outright.

What a bunch of ding dongs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Irritability All Around

When I mentally review what is new and of possible interest to blog readers, hmmm, I come up empty handed.  Two issues which I've previously mentioned continue to prevail:  battling flies and trying to appease the insatiable donkey duo.

Add to those issues my current knee situation... and you hear a heavy sigh.
The dadblasted thing went bonkers Saturday evening for no apparent reason and mobility has been an issue since.  Thankfully I see daily improvement, but in microscopic increments.  So, my patience has been short, extremely short.  (thank goodness I have a little Honda scooter to zoom out to donks and clucks as the bike is out of the question right now)

That depleted patience views donkey insistence that they're starving 24/7 with a short fuse.

Because Luigi and Gabariella came out of the winter underweight, for the past two to three months they've been receiving double their normal rations plus some extra supplements which they regard as treats.  But I am greeted continually with their ear-shattering communication that it's not enough.

And their increasingly daring attacks upon the grain can stopped being amusing quite a while ago.  I can be inches away and they are at their tricks.

  



You can observe the sequence, while I'm standing right in front of Luigi.
These are intelligent beings, but bloody hell I don't know how to train them to stay away.
Verbal persuasion doesn't work, physical threats don't work.

It's very inconvenient to close the door behind me while getting hay then turn around with an armful to unlatch the door.

What to do!!

So, I'm irritated with the donks, the donks are irritated with me, and the flies.  Who knows with whom the flies are irritated.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Fly Spray Concoction

Unless you are a donkey owner, you would never guess how persistent and overwhelming flies can be to donkey legs.  I never had the numbers of flies attach themselves to horse legs with the three horses I have owned.  Donkey legs are another matter entirely, especially Luigi legs.

Because it's a daily battle and I spray those legs every single day, I prefer to use plant based formulas. However, the flies have been so tenacious the past 10 days or so, I have been playing with some alternate methods (more on that in the next post).  Nothing is doing the job as I'd like.

As I was wandering the the internet searching for more possibilities, I found a DIY fly repellent using essential oils.  As I perused the list, I realized I had most in my EO stash and decided to give it a whirl.

  
The recipe is as follows:

Refreshing Fly Blend by Nan Martin

§  5-10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Tea Tree or Melaleuca Alternifolia Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Idaho Tansy Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Drop each of the oils into a 32 oz spray bottle and mix with water.
Source: Equimed


I had everything I needed except the Idaho Tansy and had to substitute Lemon Myrtle for the Lemongrass.  But then I got thinking (uh oh).  Would the oils mix with plain ole' water?  I again looked online, found suggestions for emulsifiers and then asked husband Rick, the biologist/chemist in the family.  His suggestion of vigorous shaking just before applying said concoction served my purpose.  

I've only been experimenting for a couple of days but thus far, I'm pleased.  I'll have Luigi report back after a longer test period.  


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Donkey Pastures, Mowing, and Les Fleurs

A few days ago, the donkey pasture was calling to be mowed.  Naturally, I obliged.
I try to look my best for all occasions and I did not want to disappoint for this event.


My favorite straw hat, oversized t-shirt, University of Michigan shorts, and barn sneakers completed the ensemble.

It's no secret, I have been approached by Vogue for a cover shoot.









A sense of sadness prevails as all the wild daisies are cut down.















Although the wild daisies perished, some of the cultivated flora are flourishing.

clematis

 lovely marigolds by the swing 
(positioned to view the braying hyenas and clucks)


As the Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus bloom, I just know you'll be wanting to peek at their magical beauty too. 
And if you're very good, I'll share some more magical beauty of two mischief-making miniature monster donkeys.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fan Addendum, or, The Case of the Silly Kitty

You've all met Moose (Dusty) previously.  My (our) indoor/outdoor 18 year old cat.


One of his favorite places to hang out in the morning is the back of the recliner.  Or next to me on the couch with the dog.

Unless it's hot out.  The hotter the better as far as he's concerned.  And then he's insistent that he lounge on the deck... for hours.






If I get concerned about the length of time he's been roasting in the heat and ask him to come in, he gets coquettish and rolls around making cute cat-like conversation.  

But refuses to come in.

On days like today when it's a lovely 70 degrees, he stays in the house.












He's just a crazy kitty.