Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Spring

I wish we had more days like this: 70 degrees, sunny, breezy, beautiful. 

A walk in the woods with the world's greatest dog...
A trail ride on a good horse...

...with a good Riding Buddy.

A bit of donkey trekking and Ramsey silliness...

An hour spent working in the garden as the sun goes down and the tiniest sliver of a moon appears in its place. 

Sweet corn for supper and negotiating with the dog for the best corner of the couch. 

The good days go by so fast, grab them while you can.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Working Man

"It's never too early to start working, right Ramsey?"

"Uh, sure Ma, if you say so.  Hey, does this make my ass look small?"

"Well, maybe a little bit, but I'm sure you'll grow into it.  You do look awfully handsome though.  Nothing like a man in uniform right?"

"I don't know about this....MOMMY, MOMMY!?!  DO YOU SEE WHAT SHE'S DOING TO ME?  hELP."

"Hmmm, yeah kid, you do look good in that and hey, better you than me kid!"

"Way to go Ma, it's about time the pipsqueak does some work."



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Driving Miss Emma

I've been on the lookout for a harness for Emma for ages now with no luck.  However, there are a group of Amish who have moved into an area not far from here and one of them has opened a harness shop.  When I was on vacation a few weeks ago, we all took a drive over there and I ended up ordering a harness for Emma; $260 for a brand new, hand made, Beta harness.  Seemed like a good deal.

Emma is dubiously willing.

"Oh Ma, now what?  You've been out wandering around without supervision again haven't you?"

"Here Em, let me help with that...I could have that off in no time..."

"Ma, are you sure about this?"

"It all looks good Em, except for those blinders...I did tell him to make the browband longer to make room for your big brain, but I don't think he remembered to make the blinders wider.  I'll have to see what can be done about that, maybe we won't even need them.  You do look awfully cute regardless."

"Hrmph.  If I wear all this stuff, do I get to go eat on the lawn?"

"Ummm, no. Sorry.  Don't worry though, the pipsqueak's days of lawn grazing are numbered as well.  You won't have to suffer alone."

"Gosh Em, you've already got the downtrodden, overworked look down pat and we haven't even managed to walk in a straight line yet, let alone do any work."

"What do you expect Ma?  Everyone else is out eating yummy grass and here here I am, listening to you natter on about all the wood you want me to move and chain harrowing and LAWN MOWING!  Seriously, they get to stand around eating and I have to listen to all this nonsense about how to make me work at GETTING RID OF the grass.  Really Ma, have you totally lost your mind?"

"Maybe so Em, but we'll have fun looking for it.  Giddyup!"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maternity Ward

This morning, Farm Buddy picked up 100 baby chicks at the post office.

This afternoon, another ewe had lambs - this time, a set of triplets.  Good thing FB found her in time as the first lamb was stuck with his head out, but the front legs folded back.  FB was able to sort him out and the other two lambs followed quickly on their own.  The ewe had also got herself stuck against a wall and couldn't get up afterward, but that was righted easily enough.  Sheep are so much easier to handle than cattle.  Disaster averted and all four are doing well now.  The first lamb's face is a bit swollen form being stuck, but he is drinking well and seems fine.

This afternoon, the last cow had her calf.  Being a cow, she, of course, waited to do this at the worst possible time at the top of the hill in the middle of a thunder and hail storm.  FB tried to get her to the barn, but the cow was having none of it.  If an 1800 lb cow who is in labor decides she is not going to move, then she is not going to move.

The calf, of course, got stuck and needed help.  It was a big calf, FB has small hands and there are few things in the world as slippery and difficult to get hold of than a calf on its way into the world.  What's a farmer to do?  Strip off one's shirt and use it get a grip on the calf and pull it out into the world.  Get mother and calf situated, then slink back to the house, hoping that no one chooses this moment to stop by for a visit.

Cow, calf, lambs, sheep and chicks are all doing well.  Farm Buddy could use a nap.

X Marks the Spot

Hey Crazy Sheep Lady, this one's for you!

This is one of a set of twins who arrived a few days ago, a ewe lamb...

...and a mirror image of a certain little Baaxter Black lambie...

Farm Buddy has decided to keep this one.  She needs a name, any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This little piggy....

The pigs over at Farm Buddy's destroyed the ramp that lets them go in and out of the barn at will - back and forth between their pen and the outdoor playground.  Pigs are phenomenally destructive creatures.

So, a very small building project was in order.  We decided to recycle an old barn door for the purpose....

After a bit of reinforcing and some slats added for strength and traction, it made a fine ramp.

We put some scraps of plywood along the side so that they won't create a den under the ramp.  We don't want them undermining the foundation of the barn, something they are more than capable of doing.  The ramp itself is sturdy and firmly anchored to the barn.....I do have some doubts as to how long the plywood will hold up though.  If they decided they want to go under it, there is not much short of nuclear weapons (or electric fence) that will stop them.

The finished product met with instant and gleeful approval, "yipee!!!"

Up and down, up and down, oh what fun when the pigs go to town...

...and then start looking for ways to either eat it or destroy it, preferably both at once.

Monday, May 19, 2014


There was quite a lot of interest in my new firewood pile, which is what this pile-o-logs is meant to be...

Heating with wood always comes with some challenges.  It is not always easy to get and it is not always good quality.  It might not seem like there is much difference between one bit of wood meant for the stove and another, but there is.  There is a big difference between types of wood, whether or not it is dry and whether or not it is rotten.  Rotten wood does not burn well at all.

I have two options for buying firewood.  I can buy it by the face-cord (which is 1/3 a full cord), cut, split and delivered for $60-65 each.  I generally use about 12-13 face cord per year, spending $700-800 to heat the place.  This is how I have always bought wood in the past.  However, I have been having a lot of trouble getting decent wood.  I have ended up with a lot of punky (rotted) wood and last winter, most of it was small round pieces, no more than 2-3 inches in diameter.  The punky wood barley burns at all and the small stuff burns up too hot and fast.

The second option is to buy a great big pile-o-logs.  This pile should equal 22-25 face cord once it is cut up.  It cost $650.

Farm Buddy also heats with wood and her supply has suddenly let her down as well.  So, we decided to try this.  She is supposed to help me cut and split it and we will share this load of logs.

This is a bit experimental for us.  If it works out, it is certainly a cost savings.  It's also a dammed lot of work.  I guess we'll just have to find out if it is worth it.  Right now, it's a BIG pile-o-logs.

A Donkey Day