Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Birthday, Little Sista! and the ducks done ditched us!

Little Sista still counts the days to her birthday with great enthusiasm. So a big birthday shout-out to ya, Sista!


We had 8 ducks to start, 5 males, 3 females. We bought 2 additional females to even out the numbers...boys beating up on the girls too much. Then one of the original females went off and had 8 babies. Then we sold all of the remaining originals because the boys were beating up on momma and babies. So we are down to 1 momma, 8 babies, 2 newbies.

Babies are now all grown up. Then we forget to close them up 1 night and all go missing but 2! Ouch! But at least the 2 remaining are a male and female. We have hopes of seeing more babies, and we have them even more securely locked up than before. This goes well for a few months.

The problem now is that Lady Duck is hiding eggs by burying them in the hay inside the dog crate they call home. Not a very good Momma, she thinks she is hatching some babies, but only sits on her eggs at night and it is still plenty cold outside. Man Duck is a very good protector, and does not want us to come anywhere near the crate when she is in there.

We manage to lock them up every night for awhile, and then The Husband (mine not hers) removes the 13 eggs, knowing they are not going to hatch because she is not sitting on them. Next night, ducks don't come home to the crate. We search everywhere, thinking we can hear them close by, but no ducks. Next morning they are back out there playing with the chickens.

After several days of this, I go out before it gets dark and see them running away from me going over toward the house and barn out front (to the left in the second photo). I searched as best I could, considering it is nighttime and not our property, can't find them anywhere. Next morning, back with chicken friends...

And that is how this story ends. The ducks have ditched us and moved on. They still come back to eat our food and hang out with their chicken friends, but they don't need us anymore. I don't expect they will live too long like this, given all the critters we have around here, but we have no choice but to let them move on. I don't expect Lady Duck will figure out anytime soon how to hatch her babies either, so there will be a ____load of eggs deposited somewhere on the neighbor's property.

It's a darn shame they don't like duck eggs!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A very well behaved man, that Cyrus!

Yes, that's one blue eye and one brown.

There are moments when Cyrus lets some of his true dog personality show through—like when he magically released himself from the leash to chase a deer here by the house. Nothing wrong with collar or leash, he just let himself free...just like that. But the well behaved part was that he returned after about 3 minutes, ran right up onto the porch and waited for me to let him in.

I have been taking him into work at The Freeman's Journal. He did so well on Monday, that I was encouraged to bring him back on Tuesday, which is crazy-busy press day. He made it through about 8 hours, on a rainy day when I couldn't walk him too much, and I am sure he could have lasted longer.

Unlike ANY of our other dogs, Cyrus knows how to just lay down and be good. MonkeyCat has been testing him out, sneaking up and batting him on the nose while he's sleeping, but so far no major reaction. He is sometimes inspired by Woody to chase the Monkey, and even take a chew or 2, but MonkeyCat always comes back for more.

They said at the shelter that Cyrus is non-confrontational, but his new buddy the WoodMan brings out the crazy in everyone he meets. Soon I will post the movies of Woody and Cyrus playing. They seem well matched in their craziness and vying for dominance. You might think they are killing each other, for all the snarling and wrestling, but both are quite happy with themselves, and more important—tired—when all is said and done.

They "fight" over Woody's prime spot in the sofa with Mom, and Monkey gets in on it too. (That's Monkey wrapped around my chin in the top right photo.) But at the end of the day, Cyrus is just as happy on the heated floors, and last night just hung out on the back porch by himself for awhile.

Woody is just a little bit concerned that he won't get as much love as before Cyrus (BC) but I assured him that we have enough love for all the boys in the house.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

All boys in the house, but me

I really planned to get a new girlfriend for Woody after Sophie left us, but then this big boy Cyrus found me and insisted on coming home with us.

Again I am the responsible party for finding a new dog so shortly after we lost our sweet girl, but when it feels right, and The Husband feels it too, and even the WoodMan gives his approval, well, what else to say?

I had been poking around on, and (where we got Sophie and Woody). I found lots of beautiful dogs, but none perfect. Then, on Thursday while I was in town, some strange force pulled me into the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. I told them I was just casually looking, not really ready yet. I met Cyrus and Chunk, both black boys who looked interesting. Chunk was fine, but still needed to be tested with cats. Cyrus was said to be a big lovebug great with dogs, cats and children, but already had an application in on him.

So I texted the Hub and told him to swing by on his way home from work sometime, not really expecting him to do it anytime soon.

But he did. And felt the love too.

And then the other application fell through.

I really really didn't expect to be able to bring him home today, but here he is. Woody even sat in the back on the way home in the car, giving Cyrus the only available seat.

So far all is good at Lester's Flat. All good but Monkey is not so sure yet about big black boy, and Cyrus thinks the chickens look mighty tasty... We can work on those things.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cat and Hound, part 2

MonkeyCat and the WoodMan are still going at it. Poor Willie doesn't understand why Monkey is spending most of the day downstairs with the monster dog who eats cats. He meows at the top of the stairs begging his little orange and white buddy to come back.

Monkey even sleeps down with Woody most of the time, although I suspect they are in separate rooms and that the WoodMan, for the most part, is unaware.

In the middle pic, Woody is chewing on the poor cat, who doesn't seem to mind. But I can't watch this for too long before I start to think he is actually chewing on him. So I separate them, Monkey runs off, and Woody promptly takes his spot on the sofa. As it should be, or so he thinks!

Spring is still trying to take over for winter. We have had warm temperatures for the past 2 days, and even some rain, but not enough of either to melt all of the snow that is still here.

I will have to get some more photos of the adorable goat kids. We managed to sell the 3 boys, and Fred is coming to pick them up probably next weekend.

So there is still time for cuteness!

Friday, March 20, 2015

I need a haircut...and other stuff

I work part-time for The Freeman's Journal/Hometown Oneonta newspapers as their graphic artist. They were taking photos of us in work the other day, and here is my pose.

I grew my hair this long because I thought I would donate it to Locks of Love, to make wigs for cancer survivors. But then I found that they won't take hair that is more than 5% grey. Sorry, I cannot meet those requirements. Guess I really do have to get my hair cut soon.

Just this week the editor of the paper attributed an article to me that I had very little to do with, other than sending him a link to use for information in an article he was writing. It was late. He had space on the editorial page. He printed the link verbatim and gave me the byline.

He should have given credit to One of my go-to sites for information about raising chickens. But hey! He also gave a "link" to my blog.

Credit for this photo: Ian Austin.

So if that's how you got here... Welcome!

Scroll down. The other posts are more interesting than this (I hope). This one is written after work, late in the evening, maybe had a glass of wine..or 2...

I saw this photo from the weather satellite for today, the first day of spring. Orange dot is where we are, still under snow cover, but it feels a whole lot like spring. Goats had their kids. Chickens are out wandering outside the coop (those famous chickens I love so much). Pigs are in the freezer (I know, that's so cruel.)

And here's one more kid photo, since the goats got bumped in the last post. Little girl in the center, other 2 are boys.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bumping the goats

I am moving the adorable goat kid photos down a notch to report some big news here:

The MonkeyCat who has been here since September just now had his first up close and personal meeting with the WoodMan. This has been building up for the past few weeks. Monk comes down the stairs and pesters Woody and then escapes either back up the stairs or through the cat door into the basement.

Woody has been getting better about not chasing the Monkey, but there's only so much a big hound boy can handle.

So today Monkey came closer than usual, and I decided to allow them to be together—with lots of "Be gentle" and "Be nice" talkin' to the WoodMan.

Although it looked like Woody was eating the little cat, the little cat was not complaining and kept coming back for more. In fact, this has been going on now for a good half hour. When Monkey has had enough, he runs off, but he just keeps coming back. His fur is soaking wet, especially around his neck, which is where the Woody likes to chew on him.

I am a little bit nervous to leave for work...or maybe I just don't want to miss all the antics.

Friday, March 6, 2015

We goat together

I couldn't get all 4 in one photo (not a good one anyway) so you will have to suffer through with these. Top photo is the only little girl in the middle, her brother with the one floppy ear to the right. They were born late Tuesday night.

Second photo is all 3 boys: the white one and the one in the back are Rosie's kids, born on Monday around noon.

They all came out to play today, even though the weather is still way too cold for March. They don't seem to care. We do.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Signs of spring #3 and 4, and these little piggies went to market

Tuesday night I get home from work about 10 pm. Just get settled in when The Husband calls me from the goat shed—there's a third little kid out there. We both waited around to see if there was a #4, but it wasn't happening anytime soon that we could see. He went about an hour later and #4 is out there as well. (in the photo: little doeling in front milking off of mama, little buckling only 1 black foot showing behind mama)

So both mamas delivered 2 kids without any help from us.

Only 1 doeling, the darkest of the 3 brown ones, and 3 bucklings. Not good numbers for us, but any combination of adorable is a good thing!

Also today the piggies went to market. We are trying a new butcher, The Farmer's Place in New Berlin. Had a new transport person as well—Barb and her husband Rick. They loaded up the 2 pigs in about 10 minutes, a clear victory over every past effort, but then it took them another 15 minutes or so to back the truck and trailer out of the snowy driveway.

And our friend the bald eagle was flying over surveying the whole episode.

Spring is coming. It is.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Here are the first two signs of Spring!

I spoke too soon! Rosie, one of our kids from last year, just gave us 2 new babies. I think they are both bucklings, but not sure yet. Too excited to give them a good look—both them and me!

More pics to follow. Gotta head into work.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Still no sign of spring!

We still have over 2 feet of snow on the ground, still some overnight temps below 0°, still some heavy winds blowing the snow all around. When will it end?

Dunno, but it will. The chickens are laying eggs again—average about 5 per day—up from about 2 per week. And our Greek friends are making the trip up from the city again, fighting over the chicken eggs. "Don't sell them to anybody else. Save them for me!"

Sadly, we lost 7 of our 9 ducks to some unknown predator, probably a fox, but the 2 remaining are a male and female, so we have some hope that more are on the way...some day. (Although this particular female has never laid an egg that we know of...)

MonkeyCat and WoodMan are getting better at coexisting, but the Woody still gives chase every time he is awake enough to notice.

MonkeyCat still is carting things up from the basement to the second floor. He ran out of egg noodles (since I took them all away) and has moved on to the hot peppers that I had drying down there. Woody still eats whatever Monkey throws back down the stairs to the first floor, but he has discovered that the hot peppers are not quite as tasty as the noodles.

I have been busy working for the newspaper, and my dear friend Maryellen has been giving me a good bit of work as well. Small pic is a map I am doing for her (for Pilot Freight) that was particularly difficult. One can only fit so many cities in a state in 6 pt type... I'm just sayin'!

Not looking forward to tax time.

Never do.

Procrastinate as long as possible...