Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Dinner Yet

I was wondering what was happening at Pavel's grandmother's house with the roosters. At school yesterday Pavel filled me in. Apparently Pavel's grandmother was happy with the roosters but they were a bit smaller than they thought they would be even though I had said they were babies. It must have gotten lost in the translation. So the baby roosters were plunked down into the chicken coop where they became the victims of a rather bullying crowd of hens. Grandfather quickly intervened and has built them their own pen where they will grow until they, according to Pavel, will be able to show those hens whose boss.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Time for a little spring cleaning. Stalls get cleaned out and a fresh layer of shavings down. Cobwebs are swept away. And Koo gets a haircut.

Here he is before

And here he is after

Our only goal is comfort so he looks a bit ragged. This is the first round of haircuts. When it gets a little warmer we will do round 2. I managed to save a nice bunch of it for the gal that gave me the pigs. Although Koo's fiber is no where near the quality of Penne's. Penne's cut will come another day.

Here are some other shots I took around the place

Cora Belle Adorable

Penne's favorite spot to relax

The girls checking out the dog

The Dog

Light Brahma chicks

Speckled Sussex chicks....see the first speckle

Goat doing what goats do best.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Is It Against The Law To Butcher Chickens?

I ended up with 2 roosters out of my bunch of chicks so I had to find a home for them. I am sure my neighbors won't want roosters crowing. I have pretty good neighbors so don't want to put them out....and a rooster crowing at 4:30 am is putting them out a bit. I must admit I hate it too. I have always been bothered by a crowing rooster. It would be fine if they stuck to a 9-5 schedule but they sometimes get in a crowing jag in the middle of the night and I'm rarely wanting to get up at 5 in the morning. So I wanted to give mine away before they got too big. I asked a boy at school, Pavel, if he thought his grandmother would like them. Now I know that they do eat some of their chickens and if this was the fate of mine I could live with that but I didn't say that to Pavel. The next day he comes with a note from his mother that said they would like the roosters. I told him I would deliver them after school. He was very excited. As he walked back to class with a teacher he said to her, "Is it against the law to butcher chickens?" She didn't know so she told me what he said. I knew he was worried that his family might eat one of my chickens so when he ran by to go to recess I called him over and told him it wasn't against the law to butcher chickens and if his family wanted to eat the roosters I was OK with that He let out a deep breath, visibly relaxed, smiled and went on his merry way.
That afternoon I drove the two roosters over feeling very guilty. I really have no problem with them eating them. I eat chicken. I can't be a hypocrite. It is the act of catching them and putting them in a box and driving them over. Kind of like Dead Man Walking. When I got to the street I was greeted by a gaggle of children excited to see me in their neighborhood. They escorted me to Pavel's house where I gave a startled Russian man a box full of rooster. Pavel spoke to him in Russian and they headed on down the road to Grandmother's house. Pavel wanted to surprise Grandmother. As I drove by her house I saw a lovely yard with a very nice chicken coop in the back.
I would like to think that the roosters will live a long life with a large flock of hens.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How It's Made

On the Discovery Channel is a show called "How It's Made". Usually I find it very interesting, how they make the most ordinary object but tonight they had a very disturbing story on hatchery chicks. They are actually moved all through a conveyor belt system that has no dignity or regard for life. They are thrown and tossed along a belt, thrown through chutes, shook through screens and sprayed with antibiotics. I was appalled and Hubby was too, as he wandered through the room. I sure hope Murray McMurry doesn't handle the chicks that way.
One interesting thing I did learn was that when they sex the chicks they pull out one wing and if the two sets of feathers are uneven it's a pullet if they are even it's a rooster. I watched several people do it and wish I had baby chicks to test it out. I wrote it down so I would remember next year. I wish I knew that a few months ago when I picked out my chicks.

Maybe I wouldn't have gotten two Roo's.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nature's Recipe

After work on Friday I took a journey across the bay to a farm of two students at my school. It was really only a car ride around the bay. Their mom and dad had ordered chicks for me and then brooded them while I was gone. What a beautiful farm. I drove up a long drive with pastures full of sheep on either side. On one side of the drive was the original log cabin and on the other was a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wrightish house. I wanted to live there. When they told me their cabin was for rent I had to think twice about going home.

I had ordered 3 Light Brahmas and 3 Speckled Sussex. The Brahma chicks were easy enough to spot but the Speckled Sussex blended into the Americanas. So I would say to the little girl, "See that small one with the specks and white legs? Get that one." And she would dive into this flock of about 50 chicks and come out with one every time. She is normally shy but around the farm she opened right up. Now at school we share a special bond. Funny how animals do that.

On Saturday Cora Belle and Filbert's goatfarmer came by to drop off her papers and see the herd. I was anxious to have her look at my little bitty buck that is no bigger than a minute.
Ruckus has hardly grown. He is smaller than the two new babies and he is 9 months old.
Well she thought he was the cutest little thing, but there is something not quite right with him. He doesn't seem to be developing into much of a buck. He appears to be a bit light in the loafers.....not that there's anything wrong with that. I call him my micro buck. Trust the does!!!! They never did liked him, in that way.

Saturday afternoon my mom came out with my nephew, who is 8. He wanted to spend the night. I would like to think it was the farm but really it's the motorcycles. He loves to ride with his uncle. He only does the farm stuff with me when we have to give hubby a rest. We had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and made smores. He was thrilled to have farm fresh eggs in the morning and even more thrilled when he found one in the nest. I let him dissect it. He's a city boy. He needed convincing that it was the same thing that he bought at the store. He also wore me out. What a smart, capable little boy that loves to talk......about everything. We went to get our tomato plants from Farmer Dick and planted them with potatoes. One thing that kept him really busy was a sprayer filled with vinegar. His job was to spray the weeds in the driveway. I taught him how to pump it up. It kept him busy for ever and the weeds are dying as we speak.

It reminds me of another nephew that loved to come stay. He would get a feed pan and fill it full of all the things a goat loves and called it Nature's Recipe. While the goat ate he would brush its coat and sing.
So the weekend was a little of every thing I love. A Nature's Recipe

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here's to Family and Friends.......Especially If They Will Feed The Animals

hey, down in front

We have just returned from a long weekend in Los Angeles where my son's girlfriend graduated with a ton of honors from Loyola Marymount University. We are so proud of this smart, funny wonderful young lady that has entered our lives. We got to meet and spend time with her family. I felt like I had known them forever. The brothers are a bonus for my "only child" son. I told him that I love his girlfriend and he agreed and said he loved the whole package. Family and all. What a blessing.
We stayed at a very strange hotel that was right next door to my son's apartment and the university. It is brand new and considered a "boutique hotel" but I think it was just strange right down to the contents in the mini bar. Here is an duct tape, radish seeds, red socks, a balsam airplane, and a large dog show rosette. We did have a lot of fun trying to figure out what the pink duct tape was for. But radish seeds? What the heck is that all about? That is taking the "eating local" a bit too far.
We had a great dinner at Downtown Disney on Mother's Day. I hadn't spent a Mother's Day with my boy in 4 years so enjoyed every minute. We toasted new beginnings as these two are off to the University of Colorado, Boulder for their graduate work in molecular biology. If everything goes as planned I will be calling them Doctor in about 5-6 years.
Meanwhile back at the farm, my neighbors had tag team animal care game going on. My neighbor fed in the evenings and on weekends and my friend had mornings. The friend was a bit scared of the llamas so they had to be locked up only to be let out later when the neighbor came over. The pigs got a bit bored with their confinement so tipped their water over every day so they could watch the neighbor fill it up again. They never do this when I'm home. Then the neighbor accidentally fed the pigs some beet pulp I had left over from my horse days. She thought it was the pig food. She was on her way with an armful of hay for the goats when she heard an awful choking sound. Running back she saw the pigs , what appeared to her, getting sick, so the dedicated farm girl jumped in the middle of Fiona and Daphne and scooped up all the remaining food. I said, "Weren't you scared?" She said, "Not really, but it's hard to do with a new French manicure."
She had a baby goat jump over the wall of her stall and get into the feed room. Hmmmm I wonder who that could be, Cora Belle? She had the whole herd let themselves out when she didn't tighten the chain enough. Luckily my good friends and neighbors know what my motto is......
As Long As They Are Still Breathing When I Get Home I'm Good......Takes a lot of the pressure off.
We arrived home to happy healthy animals and many fond memories of graduations, a university that was a home to my boy and his girl, laughing with new friends.......and pink duct tape.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What a Tragedy

My friend is a big horse racing fan. She worked at a local track during college and has followed racing ever since. But two years ago she watched Barbaro give his life for the sport. She watched greedy men use animals for their entertainment and was disillusioned. So last year she had no interest in the Kentucky Derby. But today when I stopped by her house on my way home she was watching the run for the roses again. She held her breath as all the horses got out of the gate. She worried as all the horses ran in such a large pack. She breathed a sigh of relief when it appeared that all made it across the finish line safely. She had her favorites but I was rooting for the lone filly, Eight Belles. Eight Belles finished second. Quite an accomplishment. Then she fell down with both ankles broken only to be euthanized minutes later. While the winners celebrated their victory she lay on the track shielded by two ambulances so the crowd would not have to witness the downside of racing. What a tragedy.

When will man stop using animals, pushing them beyond the limits of their bodies, for their entertainment? And when will people say "Enough"