Monday, April 29, 2013


 I grew up in a house were when something broke you called some one to fix it, or took it to a shop to be fixed, or you bought a new one.  Then I started dating this very handsome airline mechanic.  He came over to my house and asked me why I was throwing away a perfectly good hose.  Well - because it had a hole in it.  I ran it over with the lawn mower.  Who knew you couldn't mow over a hose?  I didn't.  He made this adorable expression that he still makes at times - he smiles, he looks down, he shakes his head.  Some times he holds his forehead if it is particularly crazy.   It's like I am cute to him in spite of himself.  Like it is out of his control to not think my quirks are cute.  He fixed that hose.  Patched it right up.  And I was in total awe.  I was so impressed.  How did he know you could do that?   Who taught him?  Was it worth it?  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  He fixed the hose.  And I still get that feeling.  Often.  When ever I think I might know what he can and can't fix he does something crazy.  Something that gets a major WOW out of me and he acts a little embarrassed and a little pleased with my reaction.  You fixed the cable to work in the barn?  Wow.  You put in a pot belly stove? Wow.  You built a chicken coop? Wow.  You redid the brakes in my car?  Seriously?  How can he know how to do that?  I go right back to that feeling from when he fixed that hose. 

Tilling my garden - I can't turn on the tractor
Making a shooting target and is seriously fun
Helping me make balloon paint
Keeping our "vintage" boat running

Replacing a leaky barn faucet

Creating HUGE fires

Sukkah building

Coop making

Mouse welding

Stump cutting

Garden building

Farm truck fixes

Pot belly stove

Baby making

Break fixing

Something he had to be in the crawlspace for

Wood pile making

Zip line installation.

Total amazement.   

Happy birthday.  I love your face.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

::lily had a little lamb::

We just got our first two sheep and so far we just adore them.  Lily and I researched many different breeds and settle on Southdowns Baby Doll Sheep as a good fit for us.  They are a very old breed that is fairly uncommon because they are small which means that they didn’t have the bigger meat capacity that most breeds have now.  They are known as being very good mothers that deliver their babies easily.  This was very important to us after all the trouble we have had with Pygmy goats.  They are bred to be very hardy and able to utilize less than ideal pastures.  Plus – they are so cute.  They have these little faces that look like they are smiling at all times.

We bought two because everything I have read says that sheep hate to be without another sheep to love.  They can be kept with goats, but they prefer other sheep.  There is also a cooper issue that makes it so goats and sheep cannot share feed.  We fill   I looked for a breeder and found a wonderful lady in northern Illinois that seemed like a good fit for us.  I highly recommend her – she has been very helpful and honest throughout all my 400 questions.  My research showed me that in our area a market lamb (a wether bought just to sell at auction for meat) usually costs around $200+.  My research on Baby Dolls showed that a wether would cost around $150-200 and a show quality ewe would run around $350-600.  I always ask about 4H discounts whenever I talk to breeders.  I am a sucker for a 4H kid, they get a good deal from me, and I find that most other breeders are the same way.

Our little ewe was a twin, and the breeder decided to bottle raise her since she was hogging all the milk and her brother was not gaining any weight.  Therefore she is the friendliest little lamb in all the land.  She tackles you for her bottle and she loves attention.  She is going to be a piece of cake to teach to lead but she will be a mess to teach to stand.  Her name is Annabelle.  I hope she is the first of many future breeding animals.

Our little wether was a runt, but rises above his size with the name Oz the Great and Powerful.  His mother had an accidental plant poisoning as a baby that caused her to be blind.  She does so well that the breeder didn’t send her to slaughter but intended all her lambs to be slaughter animals.  Oz was her first baby and has been small from delivery, perfect for us because we love small and have no intention of breeding him.  We plan to show him this year and then keep him as a pet after that.  He is very friendly as he was bottle supplemented just to make sure he was getting enough milk.  He is a great little guy.      

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

::floating funny farm::

Last week I had a wonderfully busy shift in the Emergency Room from 11AM till 11PM.  I was running around like a crazy woman and my patients were actually sick.  It had been raining cats and dogs all day but I was in a windowless unit so I really had no idea.  I drove home in the very old Saturn and started to get a little afraid.  The roads were covered with water and that little car it not cut out for anything but good weather.  (In all fairness it is not really fit for driving at all, but its paid for and gets good gas mileage.)  I went through puddles that I was actually worried I might get stuck in.  I finally made it home around midnight.  Josh must have been worried about the weather because he was waiting up.  We walked out to check my animals.  The little Tractor Supply chicks and duckling were standing in water in there stall turned coop, but everyone else looked ok.  We put the chicks into the old empty water tank that was their brooder.  Then we built up some pallets and high ground for everyone else.  We knew the rain was still coming and even though they were mostly dry now we wanted to give them plenty of dry places to sleep if it got worse.  By 1AM we were in bed.

I set my alarm for 3AM just to double check that things were still under control.  When the buzzer went off, I put on Josh’s knee high rubber boots over my jammies, and went to the barn.  I was stunned and freezing when I stepped off the porch and the water went well above the top of the boots.  The water had gone up over nine inches in those two hours and had formed a water way with a strong current between the house and the barn. .  The water was deepest right outside my barn, but due to the raised dirt floor in my barn it was just below my boots once you crossed the threshold.  The lambs where yelling the loudest, so that greasy wheel got checked first.  My little black lamb was standing in the water that was half way up her body.  She was eating the hay that was floating around in her stall.  Our little wether lamb had climbed to the highest ground in his stall and was dry and happy, but poor big girl was practically swimming.  I knew my horse trailer was parked on high ground so I picked both those little fatties up and carried them through the water and about 300 yards to the horse trailer. 

See the water line on the barn?
By that point I could hear my adult goats screaming.  I keep them separate from the young and nursing goats because they don’t need the calories I feed the little guys.   I ran back to the barn and my two fat grow up goats (Bo and Grandma Willow) had fallen off their platform and knocked the whole thing over.  They were in the water and very mad.  They each weight around 75lbs and I knew I couldn’t carry one of them, let alone both.  I clipped lead ropes to them and just lead them out into the deep water.  I thought the ropes would help me if they got pulled by the current or panicked once the water got deep.  Those two crazies swam like they had been trained to swim.  The lead ropes never even got tight.  They just paddled along like Labradors.  Then they walked out to the trailer like saints.

Then I ran back to the barn and looked at the other goat stall.  They always have pallets to sleep on that we had built up two levels for the storm.  They were floating around like boats.  The two new babies and their mama were on the most precarious pallet so I decided to get them first.  I one baby under each arm, clipped a lead to the mama, and went out into the storm.  That mama did not get the memo about swimming.  She was in a total state of panic.  Let me add – goats HATE water.  Just about as much as a cat hates water.  Thank God I had a lead rope on her because she would have drowned.  But we got through the deep water and made it out to the trailer.

Then I RAN back to the barn.  All of the sudden I had this total panic feeling that Marshmallow Fluff would have jumped off her pallet to follow me when I took the Mama and the two babies.  The water would have been over her head.  That little thing was drowning right this second!  I could just feel it.  RUN!  But she wasn’t.  Her pretty little face was standing on a pallet that was not totally floating yet, with a young female goat named Blake.    I scooped up my sweet little Fluff into my arms, clipped a lead rope to Blake and got them to safety.

At this point my two horse trailer had two sheep, four adult goats, and three baby goats inside.  I told them to figure it out, not fight, and walked away.  Then I thought – why in the world did I not wake Josh up to help me?  I was so in the moment that I never even thought about it.  One more barn check on all the poultry should finish the night.  Lily’s 4H show ducks were in their cage on top of the rabbit hutch – a good high and temporary safe spot.  The rabbit was all set on high ground.  The tractor supply chicks – well…  They were in that tank still.  But it was floating around the coop stall like a boat.  I clipped a lead rope to it and floated it right into the house.  They got to have an indoor overnight.

My feed and tack room after the water went down

During all this Teddy (our old retired QH) and Donk were yelling at me to “let them in”.  If you don’t know what I mean, horses have a way of asking for certain things that makes it really clear.  If the water is dry Donk has a certain bray that he makes.  If the round bale in gone Teddy begs for food in a certain tone.  They rarely ask to “come in” but they were doing it big time.  I gave them a big pat and told them they were out of luck and had to just go walk onto one of the hills in their pasture.  The trailer was too full for them to join in.

As I was about to shut the door I saw four sad eyes staring at me and heard Bruno’s familiar “I want” whine.  I didn’t fight it.  I just got some towels and set Bruno and Alberta up in the bathroom.  Two smelly stinking wet farm dogs tucked in.

When I got in the bed Josh woke up.  I heard the baby cry and went to check him.  He was covered in puke.  We got him cleaned up and gave him a bottle.  It was 5AM by this point.   Q laid in bed and snuggled and talked to us.  Till he projectile vomiting all over Josh and our bed.  We just started laughing.  What else could we do?  We cleaned that all up and tried to go back to bed.  We were just falling asleep when Lily showed up to tell us that Max had puked all over his bed.  I threw his sheet in the trash – it wasn’t worth saving. 

Look at the water line on the fence

We got the herd all settled in and grabbed a few hours more of sleep.  When I woke up and 10am the sun was shining outside.  Everyone in the trailer was alive and well.

The water in the barn went down quickly and we were able to clean all the stalls well enough to get all the creatures back into their places.  There are many things ruined.  The place is a mess.  The landscape timbers for the driveway have floated away.  The basement was over my head with water.  The furnace is gone.  But nothing with a heartbeat is lost.  Insurance does not cover any flood damage – nice.  But they will cover the water that came in from the sump pump being overwhelmed.  We hope we get at least enough money to replace the furnace.  We will be cleaning up for some time, but it will be even better organized for all this in the long run.  I needed to clean out my junk stall anyway.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

::spoiled baby goat::

Maybe our hearts are a bit too fragile for birthing farm animals.
We had a terrible breeding year.  
Six babies born to three does.  
Four babies never even took a breath - even with CPR.
One lived for about one hour.
One doe died.
Only one little baby lived.
Marshmallow Fluff.

And she is beyond spoiled.
Her feet hardly touched the ground for the first 24 hours of life.
She imprinted on us.  
She loves us.  

When you open the door of the house she starts screaming for you to come let her out and let her in the house.

She follows us all around.  

Even Q.

She did love her Mama, but she would rather be in the house.

Even with this kind of torture.  

But she also loves the horses.
Thank the lord they have gentle hearts.  
Teddy is very careful around her.  

This is her favorite game - indoor goat races. 

Look at her...
So cute.
So spoiled.
You never saw a baby goat get such attention. 
We just weaned her last week.
We sold her mama.
She hardly called for her.  
I really think she is not certain about what kind of animal she is.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

::donkey is the best pet::

If I had to sell every single animal we own - even the dogs I would BEG to keep my Donkey.  

I had a pretty little broodmare back in the day that I kept at a brood farm.  That place had a set of two mini donkeys.  They were so cute.  Sweet - funny - easy.  HILARIOUS.  I wanted one.  I sold the idea easily to my Dad and he bought me one as a wedding present.  Josh was so annoyed.  What a stupid useless creature to own.  Exactly.  

My Mother, Emma and I drove to this big mini donkey farm.  They hooked Donkey to a cart and I drove him around.  I loved his three year old little self.  The farm claimed fame with a champion donk that held the high jump record.  Link here to go to the website.  Emma signed his registration papers (which I have lost - like I would ever sell him).  We loaded him up and took him to Dad's office and walked him all around the yard.

We played with him, but he wasn't kid broke.  After two years or so the neighbor farm boys decided they wanted to ride him one day.  He bucked them off.  They thought it was so funny that they spent some time chasing him around and doing it over and over.  And they broke him.  Like a mustang getting broke.  Ride him till he stops bucking.  And he did.  He has never bucked since.  I have seen my little toddlers waddle up to him.  Grab his fur, pull and pull, get lifted onto him, sit for as long as they want, pull his fur some more, and get lifted down.  He is frozen like a statue.  When the kids are outside he comes to the fence and waits for them to come pet him.  I think he learned that they bring the most treats, then he just kind of found himself in love with them.  

Donkey got his feet done the other day.  I kept trying to get the farrier to agree with me that he was the best Donkey ever.  He finally said that all his clients that have Donks try to get him to say the same thing.  I responded, "Yes, but mine is actually the best one."

Of course having a mini donkey gives me many chances to make terrible puns.  Such as:
Stop looking at my assI have a cute little hairy ass
What a dirty ass
Every body is always riding my ass
Don't touch my ass
etc - etc - etc

Monday, April 8, 2013

::quinny the delish::

What is up with the crazy smashed smile?  It makes my heart sing.  

Quishy had his first dentist appointment.  They had no fix for his "rotated tooth G" or his snaggle tooth as we call it.  Its crooked.  Not just a little.  It adds charm. 

Good thing he brushes his teeth for an hour if you let him.  

Q understand lots of words but says very little - minus grunts. 

He is a beast.  Very tall for his age.  Such a relief.  
But he loves going outside so much we have to use the dead bolt to keep him in.

Quinn vs. Baby Max picture
I have to do it.  They just look so alike to me.
Don't you love Q's Harry Potter Scar?
It's already gone. 

 Here he is signing "more".  In super high speed, thumb to opposite palm, with a grunt.  

He loves water and he even climbed into the dogs heated water bucket as fast as he could.  

 And I still give him his much loved bottle a few times a day.  And I really don't care if I am not supposed too.  He loves it.  He is growing like a beast.  No problem.  

Oh - this rainbow baby.  I just adore his little face.   


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