Thursday, May 23, 2013

kid's names

this wasn't easy...

i had names in know, we all do.
especially those of us whom don't have human kids
hearing a name we like here and there and filing it in the back of our mind
if ever we are on a game show
and to win the big prize
you and your significant other
have to answer the question
name two baby names you and you agree on... have those in your back pocket
or is it just me?

those names, the ones i like for people...aren't really animal names
i may, eventually, change my mind on that
especially since we have 38 chickens to name
i might just whip out the baby name handbook for dummies and shoot down the list
because the only sure names we have
are lester and earl
mike loves lester flatt and earl scruggs
who doesn't?

i really wanted to name one of the goats dolly parton. i love dolly. also, we were told these goats were bred for their big teats.  so, dolly seemed udderly (get it?) appropriate. i was sure our little blonde goat would be dolly.
but then we got her home...and watched her play
and all i could see was rudolph's (the red nose-not guliani) girlfriend from the animated show.  she is curious and not shy at all.
we named her Clarice

the littlest of the trio is the brown doe.  she is adorable and jumps around and on top of anything you put in her way.  she is a speed demon..and full of spunk.
her name is Pip
the largest kid, is the offspring of he herd queen.  the breeder had taken to calling her princess because she kind of has an attitude.  but, i am not secure enough in my femininity to have any animal named princess. i normally only use that term in a snarky tone. which is totally unfair to a little kid.  so we axed that name.  this goat reminded us both of a mountain peak...white with snow and a bit of dirt and rock showing.  she's strong and stout
we are calling her Matti...short for Matterhorn.

The kids are named. 24 hours after coming home.  Someone alert People magazine, we are ready for our big reveal!

Monday, May 20, 2013

growings on....

the garden is coming together
mike got the orchard fully planted
just as he discovered
he likes apricots
[we don't have an apricot tree}
insert sad face here
36 trees
and now i suppose

the tomatoes are no longer a saga
but viable plants
our berries are coming in great too...

some of the trees are fruiting too

and that my friends is some of what is happening in our garden

Monday, May 13, 2013


last week, i popped into the post office to let them know
1.  we were expecting a shipment of bees
2.  we were expecting a box of chicks
and asked if they would ring us when they arrived

early this morning, the call arrived
there was a peeping box at the post office with our name on it

yesterday, we took the time to get the "nursery" together.  no pink paint, or cute crib bumper, but all the things we need for an appropriate brooder
large galvanized tank
pine shavings
brooder light
chick starter food
(organic--not that easy to find)

so we were ready

while mike drove to the post office
i threw on the brooder light to heat up their space
mixed up some sugar water
fixed a bowl of warm water to clean chick bums
and waiting for the arrival

the chicks come in regular mail
in a box
packed the day they were born

the odds of one or two not making the journey alive
are high
particularly since
we have been experiencing extreme heat

i was sort of afraid to open the box

good news
all the chicks made it
some seemed stronger than others
but they all looked pretty good

one by one we took them out of the box and checked them out

we lined the pen with newspaper and scattered some feed on it, as we didn't want the chicks to have to search for food upon arrival.  they were starving and ate voraciously
i also had been advised to dip the beak of each chick in the water, so they get a taste of it, and are able to easily find it again

it took about 1/2 hour to get them all settled in

the thing about chicks is that they like to plop down, fully splayed out to warm up and nap
to me
it looked like they were dead
i stared at them for the first few hours
nudging them as they bedded down
and then we (mike and i) took turns checking on them every 30 minutes

it is important that they
have enough food
have enough water
have enough warmth--but not too much

we tried a number of configurations of the heat lamp
until we had a hot spot, a warm spot and a cool spot
so the chicks could move around freely, finding their perfect temperature

they seem to be content
and we are really enjoying watching them play
racing across the pen at top speed
for no apparent reason

Friday, May 10, 2013

early may

we've been on a bit of a holiday...which means we have been away from the ranch for a couple of weeks....2  weeks may well have been a lifetime.

a little update:
the weather has been very hot, which means it is extremely dry here.  our green pastures are now a nice shade of beige, and all of the wild life is looking for alternative means of nutrition.

for the rabbits
it was all of our plants.  not the plants in the fenced garden, but the ones we had planted in pots and staged on our front lawn.
we had 175 strawberry plants...
they also ate our artichokes, beans, herbs, and pepper plants
chewed to the nib
apparently, all in one night
seems 2-3 feet off the ground, ain't high enough

but wait, there is more
the rattlers are out
our caretaker killed one, so we could use it to train the dogs
the dogs each have a rattlesnake vaccine, but that just buys time. they say it will give us about an hour, if one of our animals gets bitten.  which is good, because our vet is about an hour away.  just add it to my list of things to obsess about.
i am terrified of rattlers
when i was a little kid, we had a "clubhouse" in our backyard.  it is where i kept my suzy homemaker oven..and where i would make tasty treats.  one day, a rattler decided that he/she wanted to make delicious treats too, and when i opened the door to my oven, i got a greeting that basically, scarred me for life.
a snake in the oven, while an awesome title for a book, is not an awesome story line.
moving from one genre to another...we now have a snake in the freezer...among other things

just between us
things die out here
i'm sick of fighting with those darling little creatures that feast on my plants, grass, hay
i used to have a poster in my dorm room in college. it was poodle with a mohawk..he was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore

well that is me
poodle with a mohawk
but yet
i am a wimp
so i just don't swerve or press my breaks while driving
i hit and run
just between us