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BbbbbBad to the Bone!

28 Feb

Ah, the challenge today was to write two new posts. Even though I have discovered that I love to write, I still start my day the same way. Usually 2 cups of fresh ground coffee, waking children, feeding our resident old man dog of almost 11 years, food in the cat’s bowl and maybe eating breakfast. Once we have our meet and greet whilst the children and I look over the day’s schedule of school and such, I venture out to do the chores.

Starting with the pullets in the beautiful red Chicky tractor that my wonderful husband built for our little ones, then big girl Chicky coop, guest buck goat, alfalfa in pasture for spoiled expecting, huge ewe and sheep friends.

Next I walk the chip path, well it should be called the muck path right now! We were blessed to have delivered a full load of chips from one of the utility companies, then the extra wheelbarrow went on strike. So, until more money and a trip to Jerry’s we are making do with sharing one! Which does not sound like a big deal…but with stocking wood for keeping house warm, cleaning stalls, moving feed..well you get the idea.

Arriving at the barn, I push open the big slide door and am greeted by nickers, Ms. Peep clucks from inside her snug little house and goat protest maa’s! Little doe goats are fed grain first, followed by the does-in-waiting grain, old mare grain, giraffe grain and filly grain.

Climbing up the ladder, I notice there are no open bales of grass hay. Great, I left my pocket knife in my coveralls. Well, cleanup time upstairs. There is enough hay to feed all and now the loft is tidy. Tearing some huge flakes of alfalfa, I drop some down for feeding sheep and goats. I have transversed that ladder for almost 14 years with no mishaps. I made up for that today! I don’t know what happened to cause my boot to slip and instead of the ball of my foot finding the next rung of the ladder, my whole shin did. It hit hard, causing me to gutterally growl out in scream language! My poor dog ran over the base of the ladder looking up at me with sympathy and wonder, I growled for what felt like ever. Even though I am in pain, I did not even swear, huge accomplishment!

Halfway up or halfway down the ladder, oh man. I still have to finish climbing down. I suck air and carefully finish backing each rung until with great relief I am on the barn floor. Nothing appears broken, the throbbing in my leg I can now feel in my head and every breath I take. Guess I am limping it back to the house, after I give the alfalfa to the sheep and let them out. Come on, I am a Farm chick. Injuries just have to wait sometimes to be fully acknowledged, because on Z Farm..I am now..BBBBBbad to the Bone!

 

 

Just an average Day…

20 Feb

Stayed up late, you guessed it..blogging! I thought that I should stray back towards the origins of this blog and write about an average day on Life on Z Farm.
Up at 3 am, stoked fire and checked to make sure children and husband are covered up. Husband has flu, so I am sleeping on our antique couch in front of the wood stove.
Waking at 7 to my hubby asking where my phone is, as he needs to call into work again, poor guy. Sure hope he feels better soon, he is worried even when he is sick about making our ends meet. We do not have health insurance, nor sick days.
Started a pot of coffee, love the new coffeemaker we got!
No fresh milk, so drinking it black and sweet.
Now breakfast plans, muffins in oven. Onto waking children for school.
We attend virtual school, but they still have a schedule to follow.
Stoke fire again, let kitty into get warmed up, then kick her back out.
After drinking 2 cups of coffee, I am out to do chores.
First stop is the chicken coop. We currently have a dozen laying hens and two roosters to let out, feed, water and throw scratch to.
Next it the Chicky tractor which houses the pullets until they are big enough to go in with the big girls around 5 months of age.
The sheep stall is on the backside of the Chicky Girlz coop, so I carry out alfalfa and divvy it up into two feeders, fresh water and let them out. We have one coming yearling Cheviot ram a Cheviot/Icelandic ewe close to lambing and a Southdown ewe just 2 months bred. After putting the carry lid back in the barn and letting sheep out, we walk over to the Big barn.
This is where the pony, old grey mare & her daughter and our dairy Goaty Girlz reside.
Up into the hay loft to drop hay, we used to cram the loft full. Since selling my horse and thinning out the goat-herd the loft is still used and much appreciated, but the price of hay has more than doubled in the last few years.
Walking down to the end of the aisleway, I get a can of Senior grain for our 26-year-old Arabian Mare Silk AN Silver. I feed her first she likes to savor her grain and it takes her the longest. Grain for Beauty her daughter and a I’m sorry you’re fat handful for the pony!
Goat doelings get grained next, then I put fresh hay out in hanging feeders in the pasture. Orchard grass, locally grown is topped off with Christmas Valley alfalfa priced at $270 a ton!
We have two senior does who are due to kid in 2-4 weeks and they are turned out into the pasture to eat while the little Goaty Girlz finish their grain. Don’t forget the clean, fresh water!
I have to leave one little doeling and her sister in the stall, as she broke her leg 3 weeks ago and she is a wild jumper. Probably how she broke her leg to begin with ,she is one of the smallest and bossiest kids we have…Well of the Goaty kids anyway!
Ah, I forgot to mention that upon entering big barn that we have our resident mascot~ Miss Peep~ to let out and feed and water.
She was in a batch of pullets that was brutally attacked through the wire on their pen.
When I went to move the pen one morning I walked around the side and found a pile of wings, feathers and legs. I checked the remaining pullets and one did not move. I picked her up and realized she only had one leg left! She is pretty amazing creature, we cleaned and salved her open wound where her leg used to be and she has been keeping us company at the barn ever since!
After the horses eat their grain, we put the old girl out with her daughter and after hay is eaten we throw the pony out. She is such a bossy little meany that she will eat and eat until she can no longer move! Don’t forget the clean, fresh water!

That is how morning chores are usually done. I used to drag the children out with me every morning, but now I get them up and breakfasted and then they start school. I discovered having them help with the evening chores when I am starting to fade is a good way to go! Evening chores are more involved, we clean stalls, make sure all have fresh bedding, food and water. Coop is tidied, eggs collected.
Here comes the sun, that means time to go out and possibly greet the sought after warming, golden rays of light.
What would you like to me to write about next? Kidding season, farm emergencies, children silliness, beauty in nature, creatures?
Hope your day is utilized to count your blessings, thank you for reading!
Zion Farm Goaty Girlz

A Dragonfly in October..

15 Feb

Lab and dragonfly

When I was reminiscing about this, the weather was cold, dreary, raining like cats and dogs. Our old dog Rowdy was wanting to go out and seeing the downpour hesitating, not wanting to venture forth into the deluge.
As I was calling him to go out with me, I realized that he at almost 11 years is an elderly dog.
This saddens me, he has evolved into such a great family friend, snuggler, protector of all.
When we got him, we had a black Lab named Roly. He was my eldest son’s first dog. We were able to go to the farm where he was born and usually you pick out the puppy, well this puppy chose my son. He was the largest and no one had wanted him because he was so calm. After the littermates excitedly jumped, wagged and licked everyone in sight, he quietly came over and set his muzzle on my son’s shoe. He looked up and then started nuzzling the shoelaces, progressing to normal puppy behavior by chewing the laces.
We went and visited the farm a couple more times and when he was 7 weeks old he went home with us.
That pup became my son’s new best friend, they shared food, toys and he was so insistent that eventually he let him sleep on his bunk!
Over the years, he was loyal and loving. He was a gentle giant at over 100 pounds and did not have to bark aggressively, he was just there and that usually made anyone think twice.
I had to travel out-of-state for a business trip and left my husband in charge of farm and children. At the time I ran a preschool/daycare out of our home and I had someone fill in while I was gone.
We talked by phone every night and at the end of the week, I was ready to come home. I missed my family and farm life.
No one had mentioned that Roly, now 10 years had been laying around more than usual. When I came in the door, Rowdy was there bouncing and carrying his toy. Roly was nowhere in sight, not like him!
I walked over to his bed and he slowly glanced up at me, I could tell he did not feel well.
Shortly after arriving home, I was in the car with Roly traveling the 40 minutes into town to the veterinarian.
After running tests, they determined that Roly had been exposed to Salmon and his body was in toxic shock. He came home on fluids and all kinds of pills to help him battle this sickness. Rowdy received a preventative dose of medicine just in case he was exposed.
Evidently because he was an older dog and given that he had probably been sick for 3-5 days, he was not able to fight.
After two days, the whites of his eyes told me it was time. They were lemon yellow and confirmed that his organs were shutting down.
We lifted him, bed and all into the van of a friend and again drove the 40 minutes into town.
The vet kindly came out to the van and in the last act of love and kindness we ended his fight. He had such a heart that the vet said he would of suffered for days.
I held him as his spirit slipped away his eyes never leaving my face.
We wrapped him in his favorite blanket and left for home.
I was so distraught, I came into the house to change clothes and calm down for a little bit before going back out to where we were going to bury him.
Rowdy kept snuffling me and it seemed he was wondering where his canine companion was.
I must tell you that it was October and an unusually warm day, almost like spring, not fall.
When I met my family and friends at the van, they told me that an incredible thing had happened. After opening the hatch door of the van where Roly was lying, a huge Black Dragonfly had flown out.
They were so surprised that they jumped back and stood in awe, it flew all around the van and circled around each person there. As I came, it had disappeared.
Of course when they told me about this, I started crying again.
“**It is said in some Native American Beliefs that Dragonflies are also held as a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship.”**

I knew this was his spirit, it had to be and I had missed it!
I pulled myself together and just as we started to lift his massive body out of the van, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.
The Black dragonfly was magnificent, after circling up and down my whole body, he landed briefly on my arm.
I was mesmerized by the intricate iridescence traced on his wings and how his head was focused on me.
As suddenly as he appeared, he was gone!
Although I was sad at missing my long time friend, I now was encouraged. I had been blessed at witnessing a very rare sighting of transition, this grew into a spark of hope.
Day after day I continued to search for a glimpse of the Dragonfly again, I wanted to feel in my heart the same joy I was blessed with when it appeared to us in our dark time.
Now, as I realize I my young pup is now dealing with the changes life gives us, I will rejoice that he is with us for hopefully many more years.

I will never forget the Dragonfly in October…

“**Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1604680

About those peeps…

5 Feb

There are a few blogs about chickens. I belong to several of them.
One thing I have noticed is, there are a lot of other people who like chickens!
When we first moved to our property, my husband stated very adamantly that he HATED chickens and never wanted us to have them!
Several years transpired and we started the eternal “this old farm”.
Our horses and goats were doing well. I ventured to revisit the why we couldn’t have chickens topic.
He finally confessed that when he was growing up, he worked for a family friend in upper state New York that had a chicken farm. The expressions that came over his face as he told me the story were incredible. I could almost smell why he would never want chickens as the tale unfolded!
His job was shoveling all the chicken poop from the floors that missed the conveyor belts! Ewwww!
Over the next few months, I was able to talk him into the next chapter of our farm adventure. He told us as long as he didn’t have to take care of them he would compromise.
We brought home our first tiny chicks we bought from the local farm store. Our fuzzy, peeping box of tiny chicks brought about feelings of wanting to nest. Not for me, but for them!
Day after day of caring for them, bringing them fresh tidbits of greens “chicky salad”, clean bedding, fresh water and having the children hold them while we changed things out evolved into an ongoing, growing 12 year love of chickens!
We look at egg colors, chicks, coops, runs, incubators, brooders, predators of chickens.
Our tiny, fuzzy chicks that we started with are now going on 7 years old! They are the queens of the coop and very fair with new pullets and help to keep the peace. They still lay eggs 2-3 times a week once Spring makes itself known.
So if you are considering having chickens, just do it! But before you do, study up, join some chicken habit support groups. They are wealth’s of knowledge and help you get set up for success.
If my friends wonder why I keep chickens, this is the answer I give them.
Wouldn’t you love this~as soon as our chickens hear my voice, they come running, no matter what time of day!
~Chicky girlz are always happy to see you
~Chicky girlz always have time and will listen to your problems
~Every spring is like a new adventure
~Seeing fresh eggs in nest boxes on your own farm, priceless~
~Being able to watch a Mommy hen hatch chicks, precious!
~Eating eggs from happy chickens~Delicious!
If you would like to talk about chickens, let me know!

This picture is of Miss Peep our farm mascot, she only has one leg.

Ms peep head profile