Monday, January 17, 2022

Chonkey Shenanigans

 The three marauding chickens really got my goat this afternoon.  Good thing the season ensures neighbors' windows aren't open, because the language was flying.

I had returned home from getting some donkey supplies at Tractor Supply and grocery shopping (never a quick proposition nowadays) and had stopped at the gate to give lunch to the donks and treats to the hens.  Everything was A-OK until I headed back to the car to get to the house to unpack groceries when -- what?! -- a loose chicken.  I went round and round trying to get her (Jewel?) back in the coop, but no dice.  Just when I thought I had her in, the other two marauders escaped with one of the bantams they're turning to the dark side -- either Helen or Marigold..  At that point I threw up my hands and said fine.  Stay out in the cold cuz I'm leaving.  After grocery duty I sat down, ate a leisurely lunch and only then did I relent and go back out to try to coral them back in.  And in they came.  Contrite? -- never!

Similar to this afternoon's scene -- see the renegade just to the right of Spice?

Last week we came close to a hay aisle debaucle.

Yes, it was my fault.  I didn't lock the hay aisle latch and when I arrived for donkey lunch, the door was wide open with a donk in the aisle.  When I started yelling "OUT", whomever it was backed out and I expected to see a disaster.  But no!  Two garbage cans, one with Equine Senior which the donkeys adore and the with my chicken feed concoction, were both upright with lids on.  Yet another "what?!"  Apparently the girls aren't as good at creating a hay aisle nightmare as Luigi.  And he was the master.  I expected to find the shavings bag askew, the bag of garbage strewn, the nearest hay bale pulled asunder, rakes scattered in the yard.  Most likely I stood there in shock and disbelief.

The Master

In spite of his great havoc skills, after nearly a year the boy is sorely missed.

In case you've missed the Olive and Mabel you tube series, and if you're a dog lover and would like a chuckle, here is one of many you can find.  They never fail to delight.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Donkeys -- Delightful or Demanding

 A few weeks ago I instituted, on the advice of the HR department, the Donkey of the Day award.  Quite similar to Employee of the Month, but in this case the recipient receives extra butt scratches and body rubs.  Did it act as an incentive to showcase exemplary behavior.


For instance, as soon as the three donks hear the garbage lid come off the can containing Equine Senior, they rush to the hay aisle and get pretty demanding.  What you hear in the video is probably a fifth of the symphony that erupts. 

Speaking of ill-behaved, the three chicken marauders take the top medal.  In case you haven't guessed, yes it's the three young girls.  They are into mischief constantly, steal all treats -- in fact sometimes I lock them out of the coop for a few minutes so the older and reticent girls get a chance -- and are under my feet constantly.  And you know Violet is the worse offender.

Prior to winter the three were manageable but now that free range time is at a premium, they test my patience on a daily basis.

In times of calm, though, all is right with the world


Monday, January 3, 2022

View From My Window

 Facebook users may be familiar with the international group "View From My Window".  You might want to take a look - views as varied as the grandeur of an Alaskan landscape to that of a brick wall.  All over the world.

I thought I'd do a mini version for you here.

From the kitchen window, a view of the birds and squirrels eating and drinking 

There's another bird feeder further down the deck and a squirrel feeder, but this is the view most seen.

Same window, a view of these two lovelies 
I was trying to remain quite still

This is actually a cheater picture - not from the window but a few yards up the driveway.  But it's one of my favorites after a snowfall..

Speaking of snow, two of the donks tried to duplicate the original snowy faces photo from quite a few years ago with the three amigos. (see photo on right of home page, fourth down)

They gave it a good try but it doesn't have that certain something of the original.

Finally, I experimented with the DIY coconut oil "suet" for the clucks. 

One half cup each of organic oats, raisins, peanuts, Grubblies and a bit of cinnamon.

the dry mixture mixed with the melted coconut oil in an 8x8 pan

After cutting the solid suet into quarters I did have a bit of a problem getting the squares out intact.  The best of the lot was put in the suet holder hanging in the chicken porch.  Since I had much of the loose mixture left they've been getting that as a treat too.

And finally to make you smile, here is the wrapping paper I found at Tractor Supply. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Spotlight on Gunner

 Since we last spoke our household has encountered a couple of issues.

I came down with a case of the stomach flu to outlast all stomach flus.  It was a doozy for sure.  Christmas prep disappeared, but my yoga training helped me to take it in stride.  Why get kerfluffled if the tree didn't go up on the normal schedule.

The bigger issue concerns our senior dog Gunner.  He's 13 years old, give or take, and symptoms of distress reappeared after several months of keeping them under control with CBD.  We've had several conversations with our vet to figure out the best course of action and have recently introduced a pain med in addition to the CBD.  So far so good, knock on wood.

So today you get a better look at Gunner, our ever happy go lucky tail-wagging little boy.

About 10 years ago we were thinking about a companion for Dudley, our super smart lab mix.  I happened to see a dog featured through a rescue group, Heavenly Paws, with the name of Gunner.  The name alone drew me in.  About 30 years ago we rescued a pointer mix by the name of Gunnar and she was such a very good girl.  I thought, holy cow, another Gunnar!   

Gunner had been picked up on the streets of St. Clair (or maybe St. Clair Shores) and was on the verge of being euthanized when Nancy S. of Heavenly Paws swooped in and scooped the little boy up.

They thought he was a rottweiler mixed with Bernese Mountain dog.  He had heartworm, an inverted eyelid and had not been neutered.  (our guess is when the owner discovered he had heartworm, out he went)  So we said sure!

Compared to super duper smarty Dudley, Gunner's brain power paled, but that little stub of a tail (yes it had been docked) would wiggle over just about anything.  It still does.  

At the time, Gunner weighed about 60 lbs, Dudley weighed in at about 80 lbs so Gunner was known as Peewee.  If truth be told, Gunner has put on more than a couple of pounds since then.

Gunner always looked to Dudley for guidance in new situations.  For instance when the two went to the dog sitter's together for the first time, Dudley was so exuberant about arriving, Gunner knew it was OK and felt comfortable joining in the canine fun.

After Duds died in 2017 and we adopted Faith in 2018, it was Gunner's turn to be the leader.

  So now, we don't know how much time we have with the little boy.  But he will be loved every minute.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Until Next Week

 Tonight's blog post will be brief.

We live less than an hour away from Oxford High School, the site of the country's most recent school shooting.  Because of that proximity we've been privy to more detail about this horrific incident, more so than we have in previous school incidents in other states.  It just doesn't feel like the right thing to do to try to make you smile about this or that chonkey behavior.  

So we'll take a break and return next week.

In the meantime keep your socks up, smile at your neighbor, kiss your kid, kiss your dog and pass the kindness forward every day. 

'Til next week.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Pumpkins, Suet, and Donkey Poop

 Today's teeny tiny farm vignettes seem to focus more on the clucks.  I know, I know, I've heard it already from the donks.  They need more column space.  I'll work on it --  next week.

I''ve told you how I like the caretaking philosophy of Fresh Eggs Daily.  I read her posts often and had a "duh!" moment in one of her more recent stories.  She talked about dumping chicken feed, supplements and nutritious add-ons in a garbage can.  Now why hadn't I thought of that!  Instead of lugging the small chicken feed can to the horse trailer where feed is stored, why not use on of the garbage cans in the hay aisle which hold over 50 pounds.  So I mixed my three chicken feeds and the one supplement I'm using at the moment into the can.

  Sweet Pea inspected the final mix for quality control.

It is 1000 times more convenient to refill the small can from inside the barn.

I took these photos before our snowfall Thanksgiving weekend.  Using pumpkin halves after the chickens have enjoyed the seeds and pulp to hold seed and Grubbly treats.


This one was included simply to reveal the gorgeous coloring of JoannieLu's black feathers

And of course there's the inevitable photobomb

I haven't yet made the coconut oil suetblocks -- have to get to the local feed store for the bulk shelled peanuts -- but I put a commercial suet cake in my new nifty holder.  I only saw two of the hens taking any interest, but suddenly the holder was empty, with the latch open.  Now what one minute, how did the clucks do that.  The reason I got the cute version is it appeared more durable and the catch was stronger.

For my next photo, be forewarned, if you're squeamish about donkey poop, avert your eyes.

Only in the winter do the girls use the salt bowl as a toilet

We've had the talk over and over and yet I still arrive in the morning to this sight.  I wish one of you, dear readers, would come over and try your luck at a donkey lecture.

And here's a donkey in heaven.  All alone enjoying dinner hay without two bullies trying to shove her out.  I can just hear Gabby sighing in contentment.  (the other two were still lapping up their small bit of Equine Senior)

Finally a little birthday scene.  I had one of those pesky birthdays last week and Rick got me a grow light for the plants wintering in the sun room.  And voila, it was set up today.  Perhaps the plants were sighing in contentment as well.

With the remote in hand, I announced "lights on!" and "lights off!" about five hours later.  It's the small pleasures.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Breakfast Delights for Everyone

Sometimes I am smitten by the views on our teeny tiny farm.  Perhaps the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but yes, at times I am smitten.  With the simplest of views.

Morning Rise and Shine

Mornings mean tending to the donks immediately, if not sooner.  They can be relentless in their demands for breakfast.

Spice takes a moment mid-meal to make sure my phone is not a treat in disguise.  Its always best to double check.  Sorry Spicie.

And then its time to tend to little chickie chicks who can get pretty darn vocal when they think  breakfast is being delayed.

Although treats don't come until afternoon for the flock, I have to show you the hot mess I recently made.  They swooned over the combo of banana and scrambled egg with spinach.  

 My next project is making suet cakes for the girls using coconut oil instead of grease.  My plan is to include peanuts, oats, and raisins.  

There have been three escapes recently during afternoon free range time for the clucks.  Free range means not leaving the donkey yard and pasture.  Clearly I need to send out yet another memo to the hens.  The three new girls have delighted in roaming beyond the defined boundaries.  Thankfully they continue to arrive back at the gate when I return two hours later.  Like clockwork.  The first time it happened I was perplexed at to how they escaped, but the second two episodes were clearly my fault.  On the second occasion I stumbled through thorny thickets to shoo them back in and finally decided the cuts being sustained were not worth it.

Today it happened again.  Yet again my fault, I neglected to put the barrier across the gate.  When I discovered my error and went to the gate to rectify the situation, Etta was standing there contemplating the escape she could have easily made but chose not to.  The three little girls apparently are the hooligans of the bunch.

* * * * * Say Yes * * * * *

It's the perfect time of year to incorporate this yummy Sweet Potato Smoothie into your day.  A little bit of turmeric gives it a little kick, but also provides a bit of anti-inflammatory goodness.  It really is like having a bit of pumpkin pie in a glass.