Monday, February 4, 2019

Tools Of The Trade

Within the past eight days we have had ice, heavy snow, polar votex, then back to ice and mud.
All within Eight Days!
And yet, not many who have lived in Michigan find this unusual.

Eight days ago I was using my cleats

a walking stick with a sharp end to stab the ice

and a torch to get the gate latch open

A week ago the snow came.  Oh boy, did it come!
A muck rake is a fine snow clear a path for the manure wheelbarrow.

If you peek through the bushes below, you can see Rick plowing the driveway.

And now after days with temperatures in the 40's, the snow has melted down to the ice hiding beneath.  Ergo the combo of ice and mud.  


I'd much prefer a winter of snow, just snow, please.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Saying Good-bye to Moose

It was time last Thursday to say goodbye to our little fluffball. 

We adopted him from a friend who thinks he was dumped in the field behind her house.  The vet guessed his age to be 5.  That was 14 years ago.  He would have been 20 this year.

We named his Dusty, but somehow that turned into Moose for me.

I'm missing that boy every day.

I miss him waiting in the kitchen for the bowl of crunchies (kibble) to be set down.
I miss having a small (but heavy) body rocket onto my stomach when I dared lie on the couch to read. 
I miss playing the "provoke you" game by quickly patting his paws as he sat next to me.
I miss the quite vocal demand for breakfast, which toward the end included as much tuna and pumpkin as he wished.
I miss his insistence on going out on the deck on the hottest of days to soak up the sun.
But most of all I miss the purr every time I picked him up the last week of his life. 

He had found a dark room in the basement to spend his last days.  I'd go down often, bring him up to the kitchen and set him before the water bowl to make sure he stayed hydrated.  And he purred each and every time.

Goodbye sweet little Moose

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Blanketed Bundles of Donkey

The gang is all ready for the -5 degrees predicted for tonight. 

As with horse care, there are controversies for donkey care and for chicken care.  To blanket or not to blanket is one.  I use my "it's Damn Cold" meter to guide me. 

Many chicken owners do not think coop heaters are necessary or wise.  Well, tonight the girls will be in heated comfort for sure.

This evening I needed help getting blankets on Sugar and Spice.  They had to be convinced it was a good idea but I do believe they'll be thanking me tomorrow.

All you Michiganians out there, keep warm!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Christmas Over?

We do not follow the conventional holiday decorating timetable.  Our tree goes up mid-December and comes down mid-January.  That stems from our former tradition of cutting a fresh tree late enough to keep it kicking for a few weeks.  We haven't done that since our son moved out on his own and, although I miss that tradition still, it's not worth a battle with you-know-who.

Were it not for the flu bug I've had for the past four days, we'd most likely be taking down the tree and decorations this weekend.  But my energy has been down the tubes so it will have to wait just a few more days.

So for the time being, yes, it is still Christmas in our home.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Mornings On Our Teeny Tiny Farm

Feed the donks first to get them out of my hair

Emmy Lou 2 thinks she'll get an extra treat by hopping up 

Girls always love to scrabble in the straw during their morning walkabout

Nabbing some bird seed treat on the coop porch 
(usually everyone is huddled around the bowl)

Oh, that face
My little Luigi

Ah yes, a new hole for Rick to fix.
Thank you donks.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Our Christmas Miracle

Those who have been following along this year, will remember we adopted a greyhound in March.  Many of the qualities we had been told about the breed are simply not turning out to be true in our (limited) experience.

Faith is NOT lacking in brain power.  She may not be as smart as Dudley (our lab mix) was, but she's no slouch.

Faith is NOT a couch potato, any more than Gunner is.

In fact she has been getting into quite a bit of mischief the past couple of months that has been getting me pretty worked up.  She IS food obsessed.  Even more so than our foodaholic Dudley, which I didn't think was possible.  We are now hiding anything remotely deemed edible -- in the microwave, in the oven, behind closed doors.  In the recent past she helped herself to candy (yes, including chocolate), cake, soup, and most delicious of all, compost.  Those are just the edible items.  I can't keep yarn anywhere she can reach.  And now the Christmas tree ornaments are getting chewed.

This used to be round
Another wood car wasn't remotely salvageable

I consulted with her foster (the greyhound rescue organization we went through places dogs off the track into short-term foster homes until adopted) and she (brilliantly) suggested putting Faith's muzzle on after catching her in the act.  That has now become the new operating procedure.

Anyway, the biggest transgression (although I can't really call it that) came about last Monday.  I was up first as usual and let the two dogs out at 6:00 a.m.  Gunner returned, but Faith remained out.  At 7:00 I awoke Rick and said we had to go out and look for her.  The dogs have about an acre of fenced woods surrounding the house in which to noodle around.  Looking for her in the dark was not going to be easy...

I was panicked to find she had gotten out of the fenced in area.

I took the car, driving down our dirt road, stopping every couple of minutes to call.  Rick took off on foot looking in yards and calling.  I drove down the way-too-close busy road, looking for a dead dog.  Finally I returned home.  Rick took up the road patrol.

About 8:00, little miss princess came to the back door, as they've been taught, to come in.
Let me just say, others who know greyhounds better than we, say they never come home.  They take off like the wind, end up far away from home, and lost.  Her return was a godsend.

Within minutes she was cuddled up to me on the couch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Two Splendid Books

With your kind indulgence, I am diverging from the normal topic of donks and clucks and am
offering up two book recommendations; one I happened to hear briefly mentioned on NPR and the other is penned by a cherished author.

The nonfiction first.

Two 30-somethings living in Cambridge set a goal to live in the woods of Vermont.  Frugality becomes their norm.  They saved enough to purchase their new Vermont house with cash, buy two used cars with cash, etc.  The philosophy behind their move to frugality rang true with me. 

"Our unifying activity as a culture is shopping and the one thing we all are is consumers.  Consumption has become our spiritual outlet, our means of building relationships, of identifying ourselves by the brands emblazoned on our clothes, cars, shoes, laptops and it has supplanted our interpersonal dependencies."

Ain't that the truth, and one I have been guilty of.

"It [frugality] guides my decision making by encouraging me to simplify, to be grateful, to never deny the abundance that surrounds me and to recognize that there is very little I need in order to live a meaningful, fulfilled existence."   

This feel so very right, I'm trying to adopt it as my own.

Book #2

If you'd like a wonderful fiction read, please dip into this author.  This is the latest in her Inspector Gamache series, sometimes also known as the Three Pines series.  

Friend Carla clued me into Louise a few years ago and I will be forever grateful.  The writing itself is just complex enough, the storyline always engaging and the characters those you would wish to meet.  If you choose to dive in, please start with her first book, "Still Life".  You'll want to get to know the group of characters as they evolve through the series.

I'll return to the chonkeys next post.  I promise.