Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cleaning for Clucks

There are people, people who love to clean their homes.  Putting elbow grease into that dirty floor, dusty shelves or grimy walls.

Well, I'm not one of them.

But... I enjoy cleaning the donkey barn and chicken coop.  Any day, give me the chicken coop over dusting the house.  Go figure.

It was time for a coop clean last week.  And I recorded the process.  Just for you.

Step 1.
Remove the 2-footed and 4-legged beasts from the vicinity.  Sometimes helpers can be a little too helpful.
Scoot, scoot, scoot, everyone out!

Step 2.
Empty the wheelbarrow of extraneous matter, ahem, you know, donkey nuggets.

Step 3.
Remove feeder, waterer, grit pan, and wood blocks from the coop floor.

Step 4.
Get to work removing the used shavings.  Some folks use straw, but shavings seem more labor friendly to me.  And easier for the clucks to scratch around in.  Besides, I always have them on hand for the donks, so at this abode, it just makes sense.

Step 5.
A little diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the perimeter helps fend off fleas and lice.
I always wear a mask during this step and no, you don't get a photo of that particular glamour shot.

Step 6.
My favorite step -- spreading out the new, fresh smelling shavings.  Usually the clucks assist in this step, but they deserted me on this occasion.

And there you have it.  Perhaps a 45-minute process.  Not hard.

Now I need to get the shop vac out there and remove cobwebs from coop and barn.
Ahhh, I love it!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Regular readers know I have a passion for animals.  But at this moment in time, another passion raises its head to engage me and pull me into a different world.

The Olympics.

I'm fascinated by (almost) all and urge the athletes on in their events.  And yes, moan in despair when they fall short.

My friends and family know I'm partial to one competitor.  And have been since 2012.  If you have not seen the Under Armour ad featuring Michael Phelps, it's simply amazing.  Amazing.

In my former working life, I ran the cable TV channel for a local municipality so I know the mechanics of video. This 1:30 ad was edited by someone(s) who are masters at their craft.  Those seconds-long snippets were finely chosen to meld a story.  And the music.  My gosh, how could it be any more perfect to blend with the video.

The physical, mental, emotional challenge to training is oh so clearly defined.  Just wow.

The Games  will close tonight.  And I will have to wait another four years.  But we won't have Michael or Usain to cheer on.  And I'm sighing.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Carrot Ice Cubes, A Delicious Treat

Four donkeys have taste-tested the new treat around these parts and have written favorable reviews. And so, these DIY gems will continue to be served.

Donkey farrier, Koren, was over last week to trim some little hooves and happened to tell me about another of her clients making carrot ice cube discs for her equines.  In the blasted heat.  Shazaam! An outstanding idea.

My first attempt used a bowl that took up too much room in the freezer, but was chosen for its large bottom surface.  And it was plastic making for easier removal (disclaimer:  I've been slowly eliminating plastic storage from the kitchen but this big bowl remains).

I popped it out into a donkey bowl and at first no one took much interest.  Until I sprinkled a little grain on top. (you can see it's still whole at this point)

The clever one in the group, surprisingly it was Luigi, took his paw and poked at the disc, conveniently breaking it into more manageable pieces, and exposing a little more of the carrots.  By the way, I intentionally made it rather thin so the donks could see/taste/smell the carrots more easily.

And now the interest builds.  More heads came into the bowl.  Oh, yes, rest assures, four heads can fit around one bowl if the treat is captivating enough.

At one point in the festivities, Gabby asked me if there was another one just for her.  She'd prefer not to share, please.

So now there are two setting up in the freezer -- smaller bowls but still lots of carrots.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

SASHA In the Heat

Yesterday was a tough day volunteering at SASHA Farm Sanctuary.  It was a balmy 90 degrees and the heat took its toll on the humans and the animals.  I did note, however, that the other volunteers who were working, and all about 40 years younger, did not seem to suffer and take as many breaks as I.  Hmmm...  Took about 40 oz. of cold water and guzzled it all over the course of our four-hour shift.

I was preoccupied with getting chores done without succumbing so have no photos from the day, but perhaps a couple of anecdotes will amuse you.

Friend Bev and I are a team at the farm.  I think I've explained our primary duties are watering the crew, but frequently feed the pigs and clean up equine manure.  Bev is partial to the pot bellies, while over the five months we've gotten to know the animals, I am now partial to the big pigs.  I always choose to clean out their trough.  And it never fails, one of the pigs always wants to play with the hose.

And then there was June.
The newest piggy addition to the farm.
(photo from John Rogers, volunteer at SASHA)

She's segregated due to her small size (still a hefty sized girl).  She was all fun and games when I attempted to clean and re-fill her water container.  Asking for rubs, practically pushing me over into the mud, things started to get out of hand.  She is a cutie and is now Bev's favorite.

While filling one of the goat troughs, I had time to sit in the cool of the barn and give Bhima some lovin'.

This is an photo taken a few months ago of the boy.  He loved having his head and ears rubbed yesterday and I had to slip away quickly.


Rosie, the emu, has gone through a dramatic transformation.  While residing with the chickens she was getting a bit aggressive.  Recently she was relocated into the pot belly area and is a new girl.  It's a delight to be around her now.  Who woulda thought!
Rosie with the clucks

We shall return in two weeks to the critter escapades -- let's hope in a cooler environment!