Monday, June 18, 2018

Tales of Expansion and Avoidance

As promised,  I present to you a peek at the chicken coop expansion, in disarray!

Disassembly was slow, tedious and perspiration provoking.  Can you see Rick through the yellow ladder.  He was the real hero of the day.

And, the following day, after toiling with many loads onto a trailer and bringing the whole sheebang back to the house - voila. 

Same pieces, but in a different location.  We are not re-assembled yet.  Hot, hot temps have precluded hard labor.  To be honest, I'm not chomping at the bit.  Perhaps we'll add babies this fall or even next spring.  Patience.

The next tale is of avoidance.  In a big way.
Little Sugar and Spice abhor fly spray, or fly repellent gel.  I can do just about anything to the two girls if not holding anything in my hands,  but that's the rub (no pun intended).  As soon as I approach either of them with a lead line or spray bottle, off they go. 

With the heat wave, come flies and more flies.  Eating up little donkey legs.  What to do!  I've owned horses for 28 years and donkeys for about nine years and never had a beast who feared getting sprayed.

Checked with a donkey acquaintance through the donkey rescue and she liked my suggestion of capture and reward.  So thats what Rick and I have been doing the past three days.  Entice everyone into the barn with grain, then dismiss Luigi and Gabby, leaving the two hellions.  On goes a halter, after a bit of persuasion and one of us holds a donk while the other sprays.  Lots of "what a good girl" followed by a treat.  Each day seems to be getting a tad better.  I'm thinking we may need to keep at it for a week.

In spite of her peskiness, I will tell you, that Sugar is the prettiest darn color.  Hiding behind her winter coat was a blonde beauty. 

Of course, a mere  photo doesn't do her justice.  Take my word.

Tale three is also one of avoidance.
I belong to the Michigan Greyhound Connection group on Facebook and have seen several posts of greyhounds joyfully stepping into a wading pool full of cooling water.  Out I scooted and purchased a large size (after finding some stores were sold out).

OK, see the greyhound joyfully stepping into the wading pool full of cooling water?  Yea, me either.
I tried the same trick on Faith today as the donks.  I stepped in, with a dog cookie in my hand and cajoled her to join me.  She stretched that neck out as far as she could to reach the cookie but would NOT step into the pool.  I'll give it another shot, but the pretty pool may be relegated to donkey feeding receptacle status. 

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
Robert Burns

Wait, did he have donkeys and dogs?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Non-Donkey Adventures

Adventure #1
Jury Duty, what an eye-opener. 
A day and a half of the trial (no, not murder), closing arguments, detailed instructions from the judge, and then...  I'm chosen as the alternate.  Well, shooterpoopies.  I then leave my fellow jurists while they deliberate and reach a verdict and only return if needed.  Which I wasn't.

Circuit Court Judge Potts

Aventure #2
Broken swing, with me in it. 
A couple of days ago, waiting for the farrier to arrive, I decided to ease my load on the nearby swing.  Canvas foundation - I didn't bother with the cushion.  Hadn't been seated more than a minute or two and wham! Canvas split and my bottom was on the ground with my knees hanging over the metal frame.  No way could I get up on my own.  Thankfully the farrier arrived shortly, she pulled and matters got worse.  I asked her to go to the house for my husband.  The two of them were able to extract me.  Holy moly guacamole.

Last year's shot of the swing

Not what the swing is supposed to look like

Those shadows on the ground are where 
my delicate derriere landed.

Adventure #3
Painting the barn

The barn got a refreshing coat of paint yesterday with the nifty spray device Rick bought.  Pretty painless.

Even the weeds were included and are now lovely.

The exciting piece of news is we're expanding our coop.  Well, actually we're purchasing an additional coop, allowing for a two bedroom condo for the girls.  

I hear you asking, why.  I'm eager to expand so I can get chicks.   I've mentioned our coop isn't big enough to partition babies off (when old enough to be in the coop).  With the additional coop, they can have their own bedroom and run until big enough to integrate with the current gang of marauders.  It will nestle in by the yellow door (see photo above).  
That's next weekend's project, weather permitting. I'll share the process if I can sneak a couple of photos during the dismantling and re-assembly. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Donkey Heaven

Last Sunday marked the spring day in May, our donkeys always yearn for.  The day the gate to the pasture swings open and they can graze contentedly -- for a bit of time at least.


You can just hear that contented sigh.  And all is right with the world.  Until they are asked to come in off that luscious greenery after 90 minutes or so.  Balderdash!

The famous crabapple in the corner of the pasture is abloom.

Famous, you say.  Why so?
It's the very tree I mentioned in the last post where those four loosey goosey chickens were "nesting" and would not leave.  And where two years ago a fox caught Golda off guard and she met her demise.  My little rambunctious Golda.  She was always finding trouble.

Now that the donkeys have time to squabble about this and that, instead of concentrating on eating and keeping warm, it's most interesting to observe the dynamics.  There are times Sugar is certain she is the boss.  She'll run off anyone, except her sister, who interferes with her meal.  The next day I'll see Luigi give her the high sign to scram and he means business.  And the next day I'll see Sugar and Luigi sharing a treat in one of their bowls. 

There's just no knowing with those four hooligans.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Chicken Scare And A Boo-boo For Fay

A short aside before the post as it was meant...

I normally call "girls" in the chicken voice I've used since day 1 (or maybe it was day 2) when I need to gather everyone and usually they come a'runnin'.  Because they are well aware that they will get treats.  Well, when I called this afternoon, I only got two hens -- Lily and Lulu (whom I now call Lou most of the time).  Checked the barn -- no girls.  Checked the pasture -- no girls.  Now panic was setting in very nicely.  Please don't tell me I've lost four hens. 

Finally I saw one girl under the tree in a corner of the pasture.  I was thinking oh no, is there only one girl left of the four who should be out there??  Walking nearer, I see four little birds sitting quietly under the tree sheltered by branches, simply enjoying a spring afternoon.  And they were darned if they were going to go back to the coop.
But they were safe.
Whew, it was a huge relief.

But now on to the "real" tale for the day.

Two puppies are bonding nicely.  I use the term puppy loosely --  one is 10 and one is four.  But certainly puppies at heart.

Little Fay

Faith and Gunner strolling companionably, as they often do

Faith managed an owwie on her foot and some good ole vet wrap secured the bandage.
It's vet wrap normally reserved for donkeys 
and the pink is so much nicer on Faith than Luigi.

But then the girl chewed our clever wrap to bits 
so we started anew and put a sock over the whole thing. 
(it's the bottom leg wrapped in white sock) 

One of those handy juvenile socks from the dollar store 
I started using a year or two ago on donkey legs during fly season.  
So handy to have donkey related first aid goodies around!  

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Little of This, A Little of That

What a beautiful spring day in our little corner of Michigan.  Just perfect.

The donkeys enjoyed a little walkabout.

Ditto for the hens.

 Although their heightened sense of danger in every corner is still evident.

The sky chair was put up for a little Sunday reading and relaxing.

Which meant I felt compelled to make some iced tea.

Yes, I "cheated" and used my years-old brewer.  It's just too darned easy.  Along with some decaf leaf tea from Simpson and Vail.  Yes, I highly recommend this family-owned business.  They have a wonderful selection of just about any tea imaginable, including organic teas.  And their customer service is just what you'd want.  I've called and described (in my non-fancy terms) the kind of green tea I like; they made suggestions which hit the mark.  

Now it's time to start some asparagus soup for tonight's repast.

We'll talk again soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Traumatized Chickens

The girls are acting pretty kooky.

Peggy Sue died on Easter, that's 10 days ago.  And the girls are still displaying traumatized behavior.  They rarely come out into their pen (see below) which faces north bordering the pasture),

but will come out of their coop, through the donkey barn and out into the donkey yard (facing south).  While someone is there.

Today was spring clean-up of the coop, well partially at least.  The cobweb vacuuming will wait until its a tad warmer. 

Normally the girls will wander around outside the coop while I'm cleaning, occasionally inspecting my work.  Not today.  They preferred to poke around in the barn until I enticed them out into the sunshine with treats.

Last year we lost Dottie to a hawk.  In March, same spot in the pasture.  That "coincidence" has me grasping for a connection  Took the girls less than a week and they were back to normal behavior.  Things are very different this time.