Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Cheer

We would all like to wish every one of you a Merry Christmas...

...Happy Hanukkah. 

Whichever, whatever, wherever....

We wish you all the joy of good friends, good food....

....peace in your heart....

...and a moment to look out and see the world with new vision.  

Merry Christmas.

I am going to take some time off from the computer for a bit.  I'll be back with the new year.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

And the winners are...

This year, Connor got to choose the fudge winners.  I wanted to include the donkeys, but it has been so grey and dismal for so long that no one had much enthusiasm for it.  We have not seen the sun since November.  Besides, Christmas is all about the little children right?  Connor may have doubled in size since I got him (he weighed 21 pounds yesterday at the vets office!!!), but he is still very much a baby.  Proven by the fact that he is sitting next to me right now "nursing" on his stuffed hedgehog, something he has done from day one.

To pick the winners, I gave each (most) of his toys a number at random and then threw them all onto the floor. 

(Yes he has a lot of toys.  It still isn't enough to keep him out of trouble.) 

 The first toy he chose was, very appropriately, his stuffed donkey, which was number 5 on my list.

Next up was Scorchi the scorpion, number 3 on the list.

And his final choice was Octus the Octopus, number 7. 

(If you are wondering what Connor's favorite toys are, which I did not include here to make this fair, they are not any of these well made, expensive dog toys, although he does play with all of these.  They are a plastic water bottle, one of my socks that he stole and a plastic handled dog brush that was one of Tanner's favorites when he was a puppy.)

Since none of Connor's choices landed on the few people who commented, but didn't want fudge or the one anonymous comment, I just went right down the list.  I hope that seems fair.  Comparing Connor's choices with the list of commenters, the winners are:

Val Ewing



Congratulations to you and my condolences to everyone else.  Please get in touch with me at aerissana@gmail dot com so I can get your addresses. 

Thank you to everyone who participated and to all of you for sharing your time with all of us here at TheDancingDonkey.  I'll probably never find the time I should to reply to all of you, but I love hearing from you anyway.  You all give me a reason to keep writing.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


If you would like a bargain on a calender, you can get 30% off all calenders until Dec. 21.  Just click on the link below and use promo-code NEWYEAR.


Physical Therapy

Ramsey's foot is doing well, he is mostly sound on it now.  The tendon in that leg is still a bit tight though.  No one is quite sure why his tendon contracts in such a short time, but it does - it's Ramsey.  The only thing to do for it is to encourage him to move around and use it so it will loosen up.  Since hunting season is finally over and he is sound again, that means we finally get to head out into the woods for some much needed physical therapy.

No PT session would be complete without a little reward afterward right?

Claiming the reward is not without its perils however.  Pull just a little too hard and you end up with a pile of snow dumped down your back.  Don't you just hate that?

It's best to stand back and contemplate the problem for a moment before diving in...

....and sneaking up on the issue from the side seems to be the best option....

....though not always entirely successful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Puppy's Big Adventure

We took Connor to town yesterday so he could see that there is more to the world than the farm.  He got to go to TSC and meet all the Christmas shoppers - oh, the things I do for my animals!  Fortunately, Connor thought Christmas shopping was a lot more fun than I do.

We also took him for a walk up Main Street.  He did remarkably well, especially considering that the first time I put a leash on him just a week ago he had an absolute meltdown.  You'd have thought I was pulling his legs off the way he SCREAMED and trying to keep him from completely freaking out and somehow hanging himself was like trying to reel in a king salmon.  I have never seen a puppy have quite such fit at the idea of a leash, but then, Connor is developing a bit of a reputation as a Drama Queen.  The King of all Drama Queens to be exact. Luckily he is also very smart and extremely food motivated so it didn't take long for him to figure out how to walk politely on a lead.  We've been working at it a little each day and he looked quite civilized walking next to me in town yesterday.  Looks can be so deceiving.

Before heading off to the big metropolis, he and his new best friend, Kelsey had some fun.  These two are going to be quite the pair once Connor can keep up with her better.  Poor Kelsey, she has no idea what's in store for her....

Monday, December 15, 2014

That Time of Year

It's that time of year...when I go even farther out of my way to avoid shopping, don't listen to the radio and try to engulf myself in a haze of holiday denial.  Since it never really works, I also make fudge, my one and only claim to culinary fame.  It's whats for Christmas.

I'd love to send some to all of you out there in blog-land, but I can't quite manage that.  Instead, leave a comment on this post and on Friday, I'll pick three lucky winners. We'll see if Mary Ann can go for three years in a row...

And don't forget, if anyone would like a calender this year, you can get them by clicking on the link below:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Snowstorms and Brainstorms

Farm Buddy is taking over the blog again today.  She is wrestling with that age old dilemma of how to keep a small farm going, pay the bills and earn at least a measurable fraction of a living wage.  I think this is a question that all small farms wrestle with and there must be some folks out there who have come up with some answers. Anyone have any ideas?


Hello Blog readers. It’s farm buddy here for another guest blog. While SOME people are complaining about the snow, here at MY farm, we are happy! This winter, I have twenty-five cattle at my farm, in addition to seven sheep, two pigs, and six chickens (after the great chicken massacre that occurred on November 22nd when a weasel broke into the chicken coop).

Although I do managed grazing during the grazing season, where the cattle have access to a section of fresh pasture every day, we are now in our second month of the non-grazing season, which extends to about May 1st, if we are lucky. My cattle spend the winter in an outside barnyard area, which is probably about a quarter acre. They are fed free-choice baleage outside in three round-bale feeders, and they also have access to the barn, where there is also dry first-cutting hay available along with water. The barn has a comfy bedding pack to which I add straw daily. The footing in their outside area can become difficult when the mud freezes and they can poke through it, so I am happy that the snow has blanketed the area and made the walking easy for them. Furthermore, the snow is beautiful! I love all the seasons, unlike someone we know.

Today I am going to pump your brains for grand ideas. Here is the state of economics on the farm. On my farm, I sell grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, a limited amount of pork, and also pasture-raised chickens (if the fox does not stage an attack). I feel that I do quite well with this, and am quite satisfied with how the farm is doing. However, because I have a mortgage, I need to have an off-farm income.

Back in 1999, I stopped running my dairy farm and decided to do the beef and lamb farming, but knew I needed an additional income. I knew I wanted to do this from home only, as I HATE to leave the farm. So I went to the library and researched at-home jobs. The job I came up with was medical transcriptionist. This was a great idea, aside from a few minor problems; I could not type, and I did not know a thing about medical terminology. However, I do have quite a bit of determination and a very good memory. Next, I saw this great job listing in the paper at a local hospital for at-home transcriptionists. I checked it out right away, and they were very nice, but they did tell me that I would have to learn to type first (DUH!) I enrolled in a business college to learn typing, and I memorized a book on medical terminology. I was on my way! I then made a pest of myself until I got that job that I had noticed earlier. What a great job…real benefits, like health, dental, vision, even a retirement plan! Things I had never imagined as a farmer!

I had to train for six months at the hospital, which was difficult, as I actually missed the haying season of 1999, but luckily it was a very, very rainy summer, so that probably prevented some ulcers! Now here is the ironic part…on the day I completed training and was sent home with my new computer and ready to begin my career from home, the entire transcription department of the hospital was outsourced to a company overseas. Can you believe it?

However, I don’t give up easily. I next found a local transcription company that had secured the contracts for the satellite clinics of that same hospital. I went to work for that company and happily typed along from home for about four years, even if it was for less money with no benefits in sight. Then the hospital, in their infinite wisdom, decided that it was not sensible to let local people type these reports and forced the clinics to also outsource their work. The doctors I worked for were devastated, as they appreciated being able to talk to me about any problems or questions that they had. They were not thrilled about calling India for answers, but we still lost that contract.

Back to square one. Finally, I was the only employee left, as the others had all left for greener pastures, and my boss was able to secure another contract. This time the contract was with a private investigation firm. Fine by me, and more interesting than medical stuff too, and I typed merrily along for about seven more years. However, this past year, due to some personal problems in that private investigation firm, work has S L O W E D down.

Now, I am not a person that needs money. I happily drive a 1977 pickup, when it runs, and own one pair of hiking boots and one pair of Muck boots, which is my entire collection of footwear. I spend absolutely no more than forty dollars a year on clothing, and I never travel, but I do have to pay that pesky mortgage, farm insurance and phone bill.

So here is where you all come in. Any grand ideas on how I can make some additional money from home? Here is what I can do…I am good at writing and grammar, and I do careful, quality work. At my job with the private investigation firm, I often rewrite the reports, so that they sound better. My clients really appreciate that effort and skill, and they tell me that they would rather have me type their work instead of my boss (I haven’t revealed this to her!).

The things I can't do....I cannot work for those big transcription firms I find on the Internet because they mostly require a fixed schedule. This does not work on a farm. I can only type when nothing else is going on with the farm that needs my attention. I also am not a really fast typist, despite many years of my best effort.

My ideas for extra income were perhaps writing memoirs or recipes for people. I was thinking that people could record these things, or anything, send them to me as an MP3 file, and I could transcribe them. However, I am open to totally new ideas. Does anyone have any? I have a decent brain, an exceptional work ethic, and a real will to please!

As you know, Kris also needs an at-home job. Just think, if she worked from her home, she could write more entertaining stories about those dumb donkeys and that sweet, cute, wonderful, smart Border Collie puppy! Kris is VERY smart, extremely good with computers, and is also a good writer.

Anyway, Kris is always telling me that I should pose difficult questions to the blog readers, so that is what I am doing. ANY grand ideas would be GREATLY appreciated, so have at it! In the meantime, enjoy the snow, if you have any!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oh What Fun it Isn't

Why is it that dealing with all this white stuff seems to get harder and harder every year?  Especially the driving through it in the middle of the night.  How I wish I could figure out how to make a living without leaving home.

On a positive note...Ramsey's abscess has finally broken open and is draining.  He is much happier.  Of course, it broke open right where the scar is from his earlier troubles and is going to require some careful maintenance so that it does not undermine the whole hoof.  The tendons in the leg have also contracted again.  Hopefully that will resolve itself if I can make sure he gets enough exercise.  Which would be a lot easier without all the nasty white stuff.

Ramsey is back to his normal self anyway, I even caught him trying to boss Tessa around this afternoon.  It actually seemed to work just a bit.  I may have to have a talk with him, I think he is having daydreams of tyranny.  Darned teenager.

There is one of us who thinks playing in the snow is fun.

At least it was when it was only ankle deep, he may change his mind when we try to go out in it tomorrow.

How is it that it is the middle of December already and I still don't feel at all ready to deal with winter?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What WERE You Thinking?

"Do you see the crazy stuff that puppy does?  And Ma thinks WE get in the way?!"

"Look at that devil..."

"It's shocking, absolutely SHOCKING!"

"Good thing us sweet, innocent donkeys would NEVER do such things." Not where anyone could catch us on video anyway....

"Seriously Ma, what WERE you thinking bringing that thing home?"

"Just look at him, he's a TOTALLY psycho Border Collie puppy...."