Gee, what a day…

I just want to set the record straight.

I can have pretty crabby days now and then. You can ask my children.

Thankfully, they are pretty far and few between, but every so often one will come along and just slap the living daylights outta me and put me in a just sour mood.

I sleep funny the night before. Then got up way too early. And then fell asleep around 8 am again, only to wake up around 10 am and feel all messed up. Made some breakfast, ate and putzed a bit, then sat back down and fell asleep again!!! AGH!

Just had a super busy four or five days and just well, being weird. Haha… not an excuse but hey, it’s something.

We went to see about a guy who had some free landscaping rocks but he was all weird and frankly, the rocks were really ugly. We got a few since well, he was there and all, and we didn’t want to see unthankful, but well, I guess free is free and so you get what you paid for, eh?

And then I just have been feeling a little grumpy about stuff like money and goals and work stuff and clients and our weird sleeping schedules and so we had this weird family meeting in the car, which was good, but then was kinda not so good because I hate bringing up things that are outta whack and opening all those deep thoughts and such… but hey, you gotta do that now and then with teenagers and Moms that are feeling a little well, weird.

And then found out that the sheep had escaped the big barn, well, a few of them. Gideon had head butted the door that was supposed to be shut tight. Haha… yeah. Thankfully, they were in the pasture and fine, but now I have to rethink how to protect the door from a ram that doesn’t know his own strength.

And then found that Domino, the Dominque rooster that we have been harboring, had gotten in with the new coop and killed one of the older hens. Not good. Of course, didn’t see him do it, but he had blood on his feathers and around his beak and that means he was fighting and well… he’s just mean and unfortunately, the court of Windhaven finds him guilty of many crimes, but this one being the worse. He’s up on a few lists at the moment with full disclosure. We will see what comes of it.

And then Domingo Pony, we were having this really nice little encounter and he was behaving until something just got him all flustered and he reached out, grabbed ahold of my shirt and jeans by the hip and then shoved me backwards against a tree! Shesh…. Jessy thinks he is like a teenage boy that is sweet on me and doesn’t know how to act, and shoves and bites at me. Ah… well, maybe, but pretty much that kind of freaked me out some and thankfully, he didn’t hurt me, though I might have a bruise on my back some, that is just not acceptable behavior.

I tried to do a little long line work with him later on, thought maybe if I could get him to respond that a little exercise would help… but he didn’t have a CLUE about it and was just a little more than freaked out by the short session. At one point, he jerked the line from my hold and took off running after the sheep. It was not a glowing moment in “how to train a pony” for certain. He did come back to me when I called with this sort of bewildered look in his eye as if to say “hey, something is chasing me!” Which was ODDLY comforting, since he did come to ME for comfort… still….

Cody did a perfect 2 or 3 circles and then stopped dead and gave me this look like “you have to be kidding, I just ate a whole tummy of grass and you’re making me trot around in a dumb circle, forget about it… hahaha….” He just stood there and all the voice commands, encouragment and even the little long line whip in the grass, he could care less. He really is a solid little dude and not afraid of anything. Domingo was prancing around and all freaked out that I was asking Cody to do something and he was nearly an issue, darting in and being super weird. So pony training 101 was done for the day. It’s clear that Domingo has pretty much had no real serious training and that Cody may have but pretty much is not interested in playing the part either. Yeah team! Ahem.

And then to top it all off, Gideon decided that he didn’t like waiting in the middle yard and would rather be in the courtyard and he headbutted the picket fence and knocked out two boards and just walking right in as we were standing there!


Bad farm animals…. shesh….

And just as the icing on the cake… I had to find a DOG TICK on my NECK!!!! UGH!!!!!

Thankfully, the little bugger was newly there, but still, I HATES TICKS!!!!

Well. Tomorrow is another day. And Momma said there’d be days like this.

Just wanted to share that there are not always happy and sweet days here at the homestead. Sometimes it’s just crabby crabby crabby mommie days! I think I’ll hit the sack. Bill is coming tomorrow to trim the pony’s toes. Goodness, I hope that goes okay! Shesh…

Think happy positive farm thoughts for me tomorrow, will ya? I think I need a few good positive affirmations for the coming week…

“I will be calm around all naughty farm animals….”

“I will not pull my hair out in front of the naughty farm animals…”

“I will love and cherish each one of the naughty farm animals…”

“I will not consider how much sausage would come from a fat pony…”

Eww… did I type that outloud? Shesh…. I really need to go to bed. It’s been ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!!!!

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72 cards left…

I am so happy to report that we are down by almost half of our to do cards since the first of the year!

We have been hustling the last month, since about 30 cards have been done in the last 30 days… the weather is finally cooperating with us and we’ve had a lot more productive days then non-productive days!

Yesterday and today, we really kicked butt… got the pasture done and it’s been 48 hours of safe grazing and no escapees!! YAH!!! We got a ton of little projects done, like finishing touches on the new coop, and build the turkey brooder and laid out the old carpeting in the carpet as weed block for the pathways and filled up another straw bale bed partially, and stuff like that. Got the sheep happily and safely in their new big barn so everyone has shelter from the rain and the cold. (The sheep shack was a little crowded with the addition of Gideon and his BIG HORNS…)

We did a bunch of other things too… hung the big barn gate properly and cleaned up the mud room and screen porch… why do those places end up cluttered and messy ALL THE TIME? I think I know, it’s sort of our farm central headquarters… so everything ends up there at some point. Eventually, I think as we start to finish up a lot of the hanging projects, it will get better… but it seems like every couple days we have to go in and whip those areas back in shape!

We traded some chickens for a whole bunch of lovely hostas and other beautiful perennials for the courtyard! How cool is that? They are out in pots in the nice rain tonight but I’d like to dig them in sooner than later so that they can get over the shock of being divided and all.

On other farm news… Gideon is a dad again! Back at his old home, one of his lovely ewe ladies just gave birth to two sweeeeeet little lambs and they are so adorable looking! Little calico babies with dark panda eyes!!! I’ll have pictures real soon. Two more of his “wives” are in labor at the moment! I just can not wait for our crop of lambs next year! So far most of his ladies have been throwing twins!!! How awesome is that? We have 5 ewes here… ten baby lambs would be amazing!!! Haha… of course, that is sort of like counting your chickens before they hatch and all that… we’ll just have to wait and see.

AND…. we have surrogate chick babies hatching right now! One of our homesteading clan friends, Elizabeth, had a broody hen, but she lives in the city, and has no roosters. Well, Miss Lucy, the hen, would not give up. She kept stealing all the eggs her flockmates laid and was just being a difficult girl. So, we gave them 6 of Bucka Roo’s fertilized eggs! And that was the charm… Miss Lucy has been setting her eggs now for over 20 days and the first one, a little Marans chick was successfully hatched and watched on video and FaceBook by lots of fans! A famous little hatching for sure and we had a part in it. There are 5 more we are waiting on… Depending on how many hatch, they will be keeping a few I’m sure but we might have a few come back to us! We’ll see how it goes.

Well, it just feels so good to be getting stuff done and feeling content on it all. Cash is a little tight but that’s okay, we’re making do and we’re trying to be as resourceful as possible. Like tomorrow, we are going to a neighboring town to get some FREE landscaping rocks! I saw the ad on Craigslist and was so pleased to find it’s only a few miles away. I can certainly lug a few rocks to the car if they are free! I’m sure they will look fantastic in our courtyard and in our rock garden!

And bartering… love that! Can’t wait to see some of the new plants growing and dressing up our rather plain courtyard! I have to put up a little chickenwire on the back of the courtyard fence… the hens have been doing a number on my flower beds where we have been putting bunny litter all winter in. I know those beds are full of good worms and such because the chickens LOVE to mess around in them. Going to plant those bartered plants all around and probably get a few more each week to really make it nice. Then dress it all up with a little bit of mulch and such. Should look lovely in a few weeks!

72 cards left. One a day and we’re looking at about 2 months. I could live with that. Considering that 30 are cards that I’d really like to get done soon and the others are more longer, complicated projects… I think I’ll try for 2 cards a day. And that way, even if we only get one, we’ll be ahead of the game a wee bit. Got a few good indoor cards that involve sewing… I might get my sewing machine out and work for a few hours in the morning… we are due to have storms tomorrow and Monday, here and there. After getting soaked today and working hard, I am beat! I could use a nice Sunday doing some indoor domestic things. I would love to do a little baking… hmmmm….. I think there are a few cookies that want to get cooked….

Hope you all are feeling the sting of heavy spring labor and loving it!!!! I know I have been sleeping good at night… just plain tuckered out and full of good fresh air and hard work!

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Easter Weekend Roundup…

Gideon overseeing Maggie fixing the courtyard fence. He is very inquisitive about what goes on here at the homestead. And Maggie doesn’t mind at all. We finally got our homemade latch to work nicely, so no more baling twine! haha… Another card done.

This is sweet Iris… she is my favorite ewe. She is very delicate and just shy, but once she likes you, she really likes you. She has really bonded with Gideon, they are very good pals. I think perhaps it’s because she is probably blind in one eye, it’s cloudy and you can wave your hand near it and she won’t flinch, like the other. I think she likes having a ram around to keep an eye out for her. (We named her Iris before we knew she was blind in that eye… she’s named after the flower, haha… weird huh?)

Part of the reason I love Shetland sheep, aside from their wonderful wool, is their sweet little personalities. They are a hardy, friendly little sheep. Like little Hobbit sheep! And Angus, our little whether, is becoming super friendly. All the boys in our flock are big doll babies and that is normal with the breed. Maggie is giving Angus his daily sheepie rub and tickle. He loves the attention and will let you go on forever if you want.

Mamma Noel cuts quite the noble expression in the sunlight. She is a funny ewe. She has this sort of reluctant leader thing that she does, but I think she secretly enjoys it. She has gotten a LOT friendly since we got Gideon, it’s almost like she can relax now that he’s here to protect the herd. She actually comes over to me and I kind of think she has FINALLY forgotten the whole wheelbarrow ride in the cold rain that brought her to Windhaven! haha…

I thought Gideon might be sick this weekend, because I noticed he was laying down in the sheep shack most of the day. It was kind of odd. But then I realized, he was COLD! haha.. We had a super cold couple days and it even snowed some… just flurries but it was super cold. And he had been sheared before he came to us! Poor Baby! When I called him, he came running, but after he got a little loving and a few animal crackers, he trotted back to his cozy little sheep shack to stay out of the cold wind! Smart boy!

I have to call and make an appointment for our sheep to be sheared soon. I can’t wait, it will be really cool. I have the number of a family that shears in our area, just not sure how much and when and all that. I’m terrible about phone calls, I’m not sure why, I just am! But I see them rubbing and itching and I know that they are ready! I’ll try not to put it off any longer!

We’re getting closer to having the sheep in the big barn all nice and properly. Jr. came down and fixed the big barn doors! One was really fading fast, but he managed to save it with some new cross bracing and some extra siding and such. He secured it so that it no longer opens, which is fine, because the other door is huge enough for our plans. It was in sad shape and this has probably gotten us a few more good years before it will need to be totally replaced. I can’t wait for the weather to get a little warmer so I can paint up the cross beams and stain the rest. I’m so thankful for Jr. and Julia, they are super awesome neighbors and friends! We are pretty resourceful, but there are sometimes just things that are a little hard for us, or we lack the right skills or equipment for, and when that happens, Jr. is our awesome pinch hitter!

The Great Pallet Wall of Windhaven is complete! And I think I have totally rid myself of pallet fever! They are very useful, but at the same time, they are heavy, bulky and sort of hard to work with when they are not very uniform. I suspect that when it is possible, we will probably dismantle this and use them for other things around the farm. But that might be a year or two, so until then, we will keep a good eye on it and utilize it well. We got over 150 feet of fence for about $40 and that included the gas for the trips and such. Problem is, they are a little well, wobbly in places. I probably need a couple more support posts, just to give it a little more strength. Maybe 3 or 4 more. And there are two pallets that little Fergus can fit through! Especially when he is sheared… so I’ll have to add some chicken wire or something to those and stop him from escaping. When he does, the herd gets all funny, because he can’t figure out how to get back and starts baaing.

The girls and I worked today to try and make the back pasture totally secure. We had thought they would stay inside the two sides that were thick with a hedgerow thicket, but the little worts had figured out two little spots to get out! And then we found another spot that we were worried over. So we bought a 150 foot roll of chicken wire, 4 feet tall. It was SUPER less than field fence. And what we did was weave it in and around all the brush and shrubs of the hedge. We stapled it to a few solid trees, and then used some tiewraps to secure it to heavy brush. And then we started to trim some of our trees that needed it and are dragging those big branches and limbs in front of the wire, but into the thicket in those three spots. We’re getting closer. We actually let the ponies out there this evening and sat and watched them. Cody could care less about leaving, but Domingo trotted the perimeter a time or two and was not very interested in trying to brave the raspberry brambles, hawthorne bushes and trees and the wild grape vine that is all entangling the hedge. Not to mention the ditch. I suspect the ponies will not even give it a try, but the sheep are a different story. They slowly graze closer and closer to the hedgerow and when trying to reach little tender shoots, they just sort of notice… “hey, I could fit under this if I wiggle and sort of bend funny….” yeah. And then what one does, they all do within 4.5 seconds. Now, the limbs will entangle those would-be wigglers and then if they get by those, then encounter the wire fence and it’s just no fun. I hope it will be enough.

If I had an extra couple grand laying around, I would be doing some serious fencing around here. Fencing is the one thing that is such a challenge with a small farm. If you want multiple rotational pastures, the cost of posts and fencing is just really high. We have about half of the place properly fenced now. Another portion is slightly hill-billy in nature and then some is just not fenced. We can’t really utilize the eastern back pasture yet, but that’s in the plans. And up front, we have two fairly large areas that really should be fenced and utilized since they are full of good green thick grass and I hate mowing when you have hooved eating machines! All in good time… hopefully within the month. We’ll see how that goes!

We managed to get the new dog yard door up and working… Jr. had to make it perfect for us, but Maggie and I got most the way done! It is SO much nicer now. They can not escape and that gives us a lovely bit of peace of mind. And that old screen door was SUPER UBER nasty! We have two others that we want to replace with real nice old wooden screen doors, but that is on the list still. We didn’t go with a screen door on this one because the dogs are just super rough on screens. We’ll paint it up soon as the weather is a little warmer and it will be just perfect. It’s actually been nice to put the dogs outside for good lengths of time… even Evee is enjoying resting on some straw in her pathway area, watching the sheep and ponies and getting more comfortable with the collection of critters. Ratchet likes to sit in that green chair, it’s pretty funny actually. He doesn’t really like dirt apparently. I’d like to make him a little PVC resting platform because I think he would love that. Someday!

It looks a little weird right now, but our rock garden is starting to take shape. This is all the smaller rubble from the poultry barn rehab… it was the left overs from taking out those two side concrete tables that were pushing out the walls. Jeremy and his buddy Chris worked two long days to move all that rubble out, wheelbarrow load by load! This area at the end of the screenporch is very very shady and wet. And nothing really grows there but mud. And there is a big iron cover and this vent pipe from something called a grease pit. (It’s not really being used anymore but it’s too expensive to try and remove…) So… I got this idea. We are going to arrange the rubble in an artsy sweep, and then get a few nice bigger rock from our collections and the local stone yard that we visit often. And then we will also get some nice river rock, a bag or two at a time, and start to make some neat patterns and such. And we’ll find some neat garage sale artifacts in iron or steel to add to our little rock garden area. Maybe a few hostas here and there, a little greenery… and poof! Problem solved on many levels! No more mud pit, something to do with the rubble, and hide the grease pit cover and pipe with some cool farm artifact or something so people won’t walk into it anymore!!! Way cool…

Well, we had a nice peaceful weekend here, just sort of did a little work leisurely and mostly just got out and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It’s been a little cold here and there, but it’s not been raining cats and dogs either, so that is a real blessing! We managed to get one of our strawbale beds finished, planted with potatoes, onions and garlic and that was awesome! I have a bunch more to keep at, and will be trying to get those done over the next couple weeks. We’ve mostly got little jobs and projects at the moment, just trying to finish up a few needs and get the place super ready for the nice spring weather and summer to come! The bunnies are doing well, and so are most of the chickens and such! Just wonderful here… beautiful…

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