Monday, October 31, 2011

What to do with the donkeys?

I shoveled four wheelbarrow-loads of that stuff this evening. I should definitely have nice compost for spring planting, that's for sure!

So today, the local vet came over to castrate our donkeys. Turns out, it couldn't be done because I hadn't halter trained them yet. It really makes sense, but I just had no idea. See, the donkeys need to be trained to stay in a halter so the vet can do his thang. Also, so the donkeys won't just run around in the pasture while they heal.

So the kind vet let me know what I need to do to halter train them, and that's what I think I'll do. I could just leave them as they are, but I just can't put them with any other animals, or they'll kill the animals (the vet told me.)

They sure do make a lot of manure, though. And coupled with the fact that they just eat grass in the pasture, I might just keep them for a while. Maybe at least until we get goats.

Also, someone just drove up to the house for trick-or-treating. I never expected to see that! Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winter is coming

Ahh, Game of Thrones references... I miss Game of Thrones. Anyway! It's been a fun week. My parents visited last weekend, so I got to show them around the new homestead. I'm still finalizing plans for what I'm going to do with certain parts of the yard/house, but it's coming together nicely (in theory, because I have no money for improvements yet!)
I took Geist in this morning to get spayed. The Boxer (who still hasn't left, so I'm claiming him for my own and naming him Tyson) has been trying to give her the ole doggystyle shuffle, so I figured I shouldn't procrastinate on that spay anymore.

Also, I'm not sure what it is, but we've also acquired ANOTHER stray. I guess they heard there's this gullible city boy living here who will give them food, so they're coming from miles around. This one's a spotted mutt, and she's pretty nice so far. She and Tyson seem to have hooked up (he's such a stud) and they spend most of their days and nights laying around in the old horse lean-to, basking in the hay.

One semi-tragic thing that happened this week was the loss of three Guineas. I found three piles of feathers, but no carcasses. At first, I thought it was one of the dogs, but one of the piles of feathers were on a side of the fence where the dogs can't get, so I'm not sure what did it. Hopefully, with so many dogs mooching off of me, they'll learn to scare away the predator. But I'll need to keep my eyes open.

Other than that, it's been a nice week. The weather is getting colder (which isn't nice at all) and I should be getting the donkeys fixed on Monday. Sarah and I also need to head "in to town" (45 mins away) to get our driver's licenses and car plates. That should be fun, since we'll have to take a day off work for it.

But before I'm off, I leave you with an updated picture of the baby chicks. They're getting too big for their box, but still not big enough to go outside yet. And that one has his/her eye on me. Enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Country dogs

Geist loves mud holes

So we've had this white German Shepherd named Geist since she was a puppy, 7 months ago, right? She's a good dog, albeit frisky. She's good with people, she loves the family, but she is a holy terror to other dogs. We would take her to the dog park when we lived in the 'burbs, and she would want to play too rough until most of them left. Sure it was nice being the only ones there, but the whole purpose of going was to socialize her.

When we got this new house, we figured it'd be good to get a second dog to a) keep Geist entertained and b) put her in her place and show her that she can't be picking on every single dog she sees.

So last Saturday, we headed to the Humane Society (after a failed visit to a local no-kill shelter) and found a wonderful dog that we named Shelby. She's a Border Collie/Black Lab mix, about 3 years old, and just as sweet as can be. We got her to stay outside, but she's such a kind-hearted, good-natured dog, I decided to keep her inside most of the time.

She loves it! She'll sleep at the foot of our bed at night without making a sound. She's great with the kids, wants nothing to do with the baby chicks or the cats (unlike Geist, who takes so much pleasure in getting scratched on the nose by those cats...), and she even knows a few tricks.

So that makes two dogs, right? Well, now we have a third that's been sticking around the house since the weekend, too. He's a Boxer that was pretty much skin and bones (and muscle). I can't stand to see an animal in that condition, so I fed him and he absolutely loves me. At first, he would run when I'd open the door, but now he'll creep up to me and lick my hand wildly. I imagine he wasn't treated so well at his previous home.

Now, I'm not claiming this Boxer as ours just yet*, because I still don't know him, but he doesn't seem too interested in leaving any time soon. He sleeps under the lean-to, near my Fairlane at night and plays with Geist during the day. By "plays," I mean Geist bites him on his neck over and over again while he runs away. This goes on for about 20 minutes until he finally pins her down, barks loudly in her face, lets her up and she just does it again. Rinse, repeat.

No, it's actually kinda funny. He's so tolerant of her to a point, but then even when he tells her to back off, she completely ignores him. It's like they're married.

* But if I did, I'd name him Tyson. (get it, Boxer... Tyson)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The baby chicks have arrived!

So we're all moved in, and the painting is done, and we're taking stuff out of boxes and... OMG BABY CHICKS!!

So yeah, just this morning my shipment of 25 assorted heavy layers arrived from McMurray Hatchery. I can't even express how happy I am to have chickens again, as it's been probably five years now.

The first thing I did (after taking the picture above) was to put them in a big plastic tub with a heat lamp, water and a tiny bit of crumbles. I don't want to put too much food in right now (hint: they poop everywhere, including the food dish), but you can bet I'll be monitoring these little guys n' gals closely anyway, refilling food when needed.

When the package arrived, I found one dead chick, but that's to be expected. McMurray sends 26-27 when you order 25, because they anticipate small problems when shipping a group of 1-day-old live animals. One more chick is on the verge of dying, it seems, but I'm nursing it by helping it find the food and water. In my experiences, it probably won't make it, but I have to try, right?

I've already identified the loud one, the greedy one, and the one who will probably escape the tub first.

So now I leave you with more pictures of the chicks, and a short video of them chirping away.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

From my front porch looking out

The view from my front porch over the last 9 years has been tragic. The house across the street has been vacant since before we moved in (we actually didn't know it was vacant; it was in much better shape then). So this is what I saw when I looked out my front door:

Notice the beautiful "Condemned" sign

At the new house, things are a bit different. Check out my new front porch view at sunset:

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Fairlane in her natural habitat

That image makes me so happy. It's my 1963 Ford Fairlane parked at the new farm. For the last 15 years, it's been a city car, moving from urban areas in Northwest Indiana, New Orleans, Louisiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee. It's lived in backyards under sheets, in storage units and even in a basement. But it started its life in Memphis, TN and was purchased brand new by my great grandfather in 1963, when it lived its first 36 years in rural(ish) Arkansas. Actually, it was traded for a Chevy II that he originally bought and didn't like. That Chevy II would be worth SO much more money today.

This is the Fairlane in 1975, the year I was born. It still has those dents.

Ironically, my great grandparents kept it under a carport for most of its life, much as it appears today. It has developed a few dents and scratches from parking mishaps, but everything on it is still original with 39k miles. I've always said that if I lost everything I have, I'd live in that car. I'll never hotrod it, or alter the body or engine in any way. In fact, when I got it, it had 38k miles on it, so I've only put on 1k miles in 15 years. It even still has oil change stickers in the door jam from 1982 that say 28k miles.

So I'm happy to have this car back out in the country, driving the gravel roads and resting its weary tires in the dirt and grass. This car represents my love for all things classic, and it's right at home at the new Alabama farm.