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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Donkey Boys

 The darling little Donkey Boys are now 11 months old and full of vim and vigor. They hit the 10 month mark and decided they hated to be next to each other, and really hated to be apart. Very sad to hear donkeys cry.

The testosterone everyone told me would flow heavily in the spring finally kicked in a while back and I had to make the decision to make them less manly with the help of the Vet, Bruce. I love Bruce. Thank Goodness for Bruce. Of course, Doyle was gone to Alaska by this point. So it was all me (and my awesome In-Laws who knew that I would have a hard time seeing them hurting even if they were out cold).

Poncho still remains the most photogenic miniature donkey ever created. He likes the camera and stands still for me to take his picture. Paco, not so much! Word to the wise if you ever have the vet come out to geld your donkeys....... don't let the chickens out that day, just sayin'. With the first toss of no longer useful boy parts, the chicks came running. All twenty four of them. They vet was spooked. Guess he's never been around such friendly chickens who always think you have a treat for them.

It seems funny now but it really wasn't so funny then. I am sure Dr. Gardener was feeling a little bit like Dr. Doolittle. Poor man.

The testosterone took fourteen days to clear their system and now they love each other again. I think watching mini-donks fight was like watching kindergartners duke it out in the school yard.  Not a pleasant sight. All is well again on my little farm. I am hoping to till a few things and start planting the garden this weekend. Progress reports to come..... stay tuned.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Not the Nest Boxes?

When we so lovingly built our chicken house, the nest boxes took some thought. What wall to put them on to minimize a possible draft? How high in relation to the roosts? What size to build them dimensionally? We thought it out well, we consulted books and the internet. Well, the chicken ladies have other ideas.

We painted them red so they would be fun to lay eggs in. And about half of the girls use them regularly. The other half..... not so much.

This girl is laying in a nest they built out of a straw bale in the barn. About 6 to 8 eggs per day are found here.

Another three or four are found in this garbage can full of chopped up goat floor and hay. This will go into my compost tumbler this spring. I just don't seem to have the heart to take away a favorite nesting area. They don't seem to mind the fake fawn much either. That thing is another story all together.

This is a one ton grain tote that I filled with clean wood shavings for winter use in the chicken house. The chicks climb right in and down into it about 3 foot. I find a couple eggs per week in this thing. Silly chickens.

And finally we have our first broody hen. She is one diligent mama wanna-be. She has been at this sitting thing for weeks. I thought she was sick and dieing when she first started and even took her to the vet. He got a good laugh out of it, refused to take my money and thanked me for being one of the first to ever bring him a chicken. I guess folks around here eat their questionable birds. I happen to like mine too much to do that but I can see their point. Plus my muscle is in Alaska and I cannot do that kind of deed myself. I have toyed with slipping some day old chicks under her at night so she will finally stop this madness but I don't have the heart to possibly go out and find that she wasn't a good mother after all. Seems a little like murder if the experiment does not work. I have been kicking her off the nest all day long on the days that I am home. She seems to like it in there.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Did It!

Happy Mother's Day to you all! I hope you're relaxing in exactly the manner you planned for today, whatever that may be!

I wanted to share with you my weekend accomplishment.... No it doesn't have anything to do with gardening but I'm still proud of myself! We ran 3.1 miles and it went very well. I went from a couch potato (computer, really) to a 5K runner in 8 weeks. The program is 9 weeks but I only had eight to do it in. Great program if anyone else is interested and if I can do it, anyone can~

There I am, out in the crush, doing something stupid with my arm! (Still not sure what that is.) We waited for 10 minutes or so to even start since the pile of people didn't begin to move for quite a while. The problem with that logic was then we had to pass them all, which my friend and running partner said was like playing Frogger with humans.

Here we are after the race. We timed ourselves since this was the Race for the Cure and it wasn't really a race, just a great cause. We finished in 31:41, which really was good considering all the bobbing and weaving we had to do to miss running into people.

Mindy's daughter (whom, I might add, did not train for this) ran the whole thing and in front of us! The strength of youth is somewhat staggering to me. We had fun and it went really fast since there was so much to look at. People watching is the best!

NEXT POST: Gardening, I promise. Scout's Honor, really.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday Present to Myself

I have wanted an old fashioned garden hod for years. To me, this screams "I am a real gardener now...... look at me!" I know I did not need it to be a real gardener, I just wanted it and that's how I justify things I want. I ordered this from Burpee's Seed Company and when it got here I could not believe how big it really was. Catalog photos are not always good at rendering dimension in my mind.

The quality is wonderful and it looks so professional. I can't wait to harvest tomatoes with it, although it may be too heavy to pick up once full of my summer bounty!

I have had a really hard time getting excited about the gardens this year. I did finally order and receive my seeds for the year but motivation is seriously lacking. My husband (The muscle around here~) has gone to Alaska to fall timber for three months. I am usually not a whiner but I suppose I did not realize just how much he did on our place. I'll be sure to thank him when he gets home. My morning routine, which consists of lots of coffee and my computer for at least two hours before I get ready for work, has been interrupted by having to feed animals. It doesn't take long but Doyle took care of all of that and now I go to work with hay in my hair. It looks awesome and lends authenticity to my farm-girl image. Only a few patients have actually been allergic to me so all is well on that front. It's just hard when part of my team is missing. On a high note he'll be very happy to be back tackling my honey-do list since he swears he will never step foot in Alaska again as long as he draws breath. I guess a logging camp is not the way to tour that state.

Thanks to all of you who have inquired about my whereabouts. I am coming back, I miss you all and your blogs have always been a huge source of motivation for me! That is really what I need right now!

One last thing I have been up to.... On Saturday I run (yes, I said run, hehe) my first 5K for the Susan G Komen, Race for the Cure! I am very excited and have been training using the Couch to 5K plan for the last nine weeks. When I started, the intervals were 60 seconds of run alternating with 90 seconds of walk and that was hard. I completed week nine yesterday morning and we ran 3.1 miles to see how long it will take us on Saturday. I think (if all the strollers and walkers wait to start until the runners go) that we will complete the 5K in 29 minutes. I am really proud of myself and no, it's not a coincidence that this new goal coincided with my 37th birthday! I needed to get myself moving so I can garden well into my nineties. Mission accomplished and we just signed up for a 10K on July 10th. New training plan in the works~

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Reading

Well here it is. The stack I have been meaning to read. The pile I couldn't wait for winter to be able to dive into. The current bane of my existence. What I mean to say is that I almost always look forward to winter because I am generally burnt out from gardening around the clock all summer. This winter was no exception. I have a confession to make. I haven't started most of them yet. A couple I have read and had planned to re-read, like the miniature donkey book, Beekeeping for Dummies and Square Foot Gardening. It never hurts to brush up on your knowledge, right? Except I haven't yet and spring is closing in on me. I mean really, it's Groundhog Day already and I haven't even started. (For those of you that don't already know, I love Groundhog Day. Not sure why but always have. )

I am starting to panic a little and I haven't ordered my seeds yet. I haven't even looked through and dogeared every page in 30 seed catalogs. What on earth is wrong with me? Maybe I am sick. Ooh, maybe I have Malaria. This really isn't normal for me and it truly baffles me a little. OK, a lot but who's keeping track. I do get over to peruse blogs I love (you all know who you are) but I can't even seem to muster the energy to leave comments which up until recently was something I got out of bed an hour earlier to do.  

So I am throwing down the challenge to myself. Heather (that's me): Get your butt in gear and get it done! There I said it to myself, to you and to my mom who occasionally reads my blog. I am going back to my old ways and I am gearing up for spring, whether I like it or not. Watch out blogland........ I'm coming to comment on your posts and stop lurking secretly. I am also going to plan my seed order. I am going to ready my stack 'o books.  On Friday night.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Sunny Winter Day

 Today was a good day in animal land. The sun finally came out for the afternoon and I must say the farm pets enjoyed it thoroughly.  In this picture the mother goat is nearly asleep. The goats are so fair weather that they won't go out of the barn for water when the wind blows, let along when it's snowing. The chickens love the goats for some reason and the goats don't seem to mind the chicken ladies too much either.

 The donkey boys like the sun to shine too! They were caught several times throughout the day laying down and just soaking it all in. That is, when the mother goat isn't chasing them and stomping her feet in their direction. Funniest thing I have ever seen as that darn goat is afraid of her own shadow but acts very tough when the donkeys are around. You should see a pygmy goat put the sneak on a pair of miniature donkeys. It's almost sad. It really seems to empower her, nutty goat.

 And here is Ollie and the mother goat hanging out in the snow. It seems humorous to me that they won't go out into the snow in the barnyard which they have access to all day but put them out in the orchard area and snow doesn't seem to bother them at all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Donkey Boys

It is harder than one might think to get a picture of a baby mini donkey with goofy Christmas antlers on his head. It is next to impossible to get a picture of two of them together.

So we bribed them. The boys love carrots. This one is the shyer of the two and he seems to know that manners will get him further than pushy behavior. His brother is still learning this lesson.

He is also more photogenic. He will actually stand there and let you take his picture even if he hates dumb antlers that make him look silly.

Poncho has to be snuck up on to get a picture. He comes running to see if you have treats in your pocket so getting a decent photo of him becomes more challenging. Most of my pictures of him are from 1 foot above his sweet little face while he begs for carrots.

Now that the ground is covered in snow the boys stay a little closer to the barn. Doyle plows them areas to hang out in but all that sticks through the snow to graze on is chicory. Too bad them chewing on the tops wouldn't kill the stuff like it did all my cherry trees. These guys can prune very fast when you aren't looking.

About This Blog

We started this blog in Feb. of 2009 to help us stay motivated and to track our progess in the garden. We live on 5 acres surrounded by Idaho farmland. We have wildlife galore and are attempting to attract more in the bird catagory. This is our journal. Welcome!


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