Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Problem with Chickens

When we moved to our little bit of land a few miles out of the city we also had to move my daughter to a new school. D was in first grade and had a very close friend and I felt very guilty for pulling them apart. I knew that life out of the suburban gray would be better for all of us, but it's still difficult to watch your baby lose their friend. To highlight the positives, we promised her chickens. Okay, so most 6 year old girls probably wouldn't dare touch a chicken. But she loves chickens like most little girls love kittens. The problem with chickens is that we can't seem to manage to keep them alive very long. I want very much to free range the chickens, but one by one they didn't return to the roost. Every one that went missing brought tears from my little girl. So now, they are locked up. I hate that they can't free range. So, my winter project is to build a better mouse trap... er, chicken palace.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween musing

Our society shies away from making any qualitative judgment and hides behind the ideas of acceptance and tolerance.

Will you stand up for what you believe in?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Simple Cattle Panel Shelter

Ah... it's Fall and love is in the air. Or will be soon, so we need to get seperate quarters for the boys and girls or else we'll have a kitchen full of lambs mid-winter. Last weekend I hauled two dog kennels (the 6 foot tall chain link ones) out to the chosen spot and set them up. That was quite a work out! Today I had planned to put up one of those quick shelters with cattle panels and a tarp. I carted the panels home from TSC, connected them together with plastic zip ties and neatly bowed the panels into a shelter. Except for that last part. Because they are much heavier than they seem at first. I did manage to get myself under the center of the panels, which was pointless because I'm short and even with my arms fully extended I couldn't create a bow in the panels. This is definately a two person job. Putting the tarp on wasn't really easier either. I need to go buy some grommets for the tarp so I can finish up the job. Now I'm wondering if it is all that great of an idea. I was hoping that the ewes could stay in there through the fall and then move back to the wooden shelters with the boys for breeding. We also have a lot of fence to put up and my little cart for the ATV is broken. I drove an hour today to buy a new, bigger one. But when I got home hubby noticed that one of the wheels is wonky, so it needs to go back. And I forgot to turn in my homework yesterday. It's been a long day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama is right

This is a "teachable moment". You see, it's not really relevant to our national situation whether the cop participated in racial profiling or if the black professor was looking for some first hand ammo for his academic argument. The important thing here, which most of the media is ignoring or (worse?) just unable to comprehend, is that our President displayed an honest, heartfelt reaction to a question put to him by a reporter. And that reaction was to condemn the white police officer and accuse him of being a racist, without knowing the situation.
The word racism is hurtled viciously in this country, and it has many people frozen in fear. A conversation or argument is brought to a swift end when this weapon is drawn. The intellectual argument stops and an emotional plea begins. Racism is so powerfully despicable that many won't even dare enter or pursue a discussion that might bring the charge. And in doing so, we stop conversation and feed resentment. We don't come closer to acceptance and understanding. We become prisoners of our skin, regardless of it's color.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A quick trip to DC

I popped on out to DC over the weekend to pick up Child #1 who was visiting with my folks. While I was there we went to Ford's Theater, which as an Illinois native I've always wanted to visit, and the Holocaust museum. Honestly, I didn't know that there was a Holocaust museum until Stephen Johns, a museum guard, was gunned down by a crazy old man last month. The museum is truly powerful. It's wonderfully organized and completely effective. If you go, give yourself a lot of time to read everything and watch all the videos. This is something that we cannot forget.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Three Musketeers

Speaking of the realities of life with animals – I must remember that these creatures have all day and night to come up with ways to foil my best laid plans. Today was masterminded by the Three Musketeers – the three black Mini Cheviot – Babydoll crosses. Three days ago I lured the sheep into a chain link dog kennel I had set up months ago as a pre-shearing pen. All the sheep went in and then one by one I released all but the Three Musketeers. It worked beautifully. So they were officially weaned and their mommas wandered off oblivious to their cries. Today, Abby (who is probably on this list now) came out to pick up the little darlings. I took the day off of work, got up at 5, and busted my butt all morning doing things that I can’t really do with three kids (human) crawling all over me. I was exhausted and filthy by 11, so I showered and changed. I spent the next hour tidying the garage until Abby arrived. Everything went fine – some basic sheep talk and I was happy that they would have a great home. Abby had her pickup with a topper, so I tossed Jazzmin up there. Okay, so these lambs are much heavier than they look! And I think Abby ended up getting kicked in the face, but she locked the lamb in and we went back for the next one. This time, Abby just opened the window of the topper and I hoisted Thorn up over the tailgate – and the Jazzmin flew out of the truck and bolted for the sheep fold! Inspired, Chrysanthemum bashed the lower part of the kennel gate and busted out as well. Now there are two wildly scared lambs that are 400 ft away from the truck. Down a rather steep hill. Did I mention that these lambs are heavy? I mean, they look like sweet little puff balls, but they are really made of lead! Chasing, carrying, dragging… And I was dead on my feet before any of this even started. Oh NOT the impression I was hoping to make on the lambs new mom.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Getting Started

Okay, so I'm always a bit behind the times... but I've finally fallen into the blogging world. Our little piece of heaven is in the Loess Hills of Iowa. And tomorrow is a big day for us as our first lambs will be leaving our home to start a flock for their new family. Thorn, Chryanthemum, and Jazzmin will be going to Sugar Creek Farm. That will put us at six sheep in our little flock.

We're half way through the year and we still have a lot planned. We'll be putting up some fencing and new shelters for the sheep. And once the sheep are moved, we'll modify one of the existing sheep pens for the chickens. We also have a couple dozen pine trees that are suffering from pine wilt and at least half of them really must go before winter. Okay, so maybe that doesn't sound like much... but since we both work day jobs, have three children, and I'm going to school at night it's going to keep us busy!