Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Here's a first look at Pepper - the first chick we've hatched from our own hens and Sambo. He/she hatched today - right on schedule! Poppy's got 3 more eggs under her, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for 3 more pullets!

What a great day to be born!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Well, it happened again! A new school year began and time slipped away.

 Looking at the blog I see it's been almost 2 months since I last posted. It might seem there was nothing going on, but as I think back on those months, I'm amazed at what all has occurred. Updates follow!

the garden: Big John and I spent our anniversary cleaning out the last of the summer garden.

About 20 inches of rain this summer - seriously - made weeding an exercise in futility. By August, we'd given up on almost everything south of the eggplant. Tomatoes had quit, squash was waterlogged, melons were lost in grass. It seemed the best way to get a handle on things was to start over. We left peppers and eggplant, but most everything else was put in the compost pile.

It wasn't long before we found some fall plants at our favorite places - feed stores, hardware stores, the grocery store - and we're officially in fall gardening mode! In between floods, we managed to plant some peas and winter squash. Lack of water has NOT been an issue this summer, so those have done very well!

Unfortunately, daily rains have kept us from getting everything planted. Our most desired fall delights (tomatoes, cabbage, and lettuce) are patiently waiting in their peat pots for their turn to grow.

They aren't looking too perky - they've been there for WEEKS - but it hasn't rained all weekend, and no rain is forcast for the entire week. I think their wait may finally be over and they'll get in the ground this week! Hopefully we'll have enough growing season left for those tomatoes to make.

Ranger: Ups and downs on the horse front - Ranger had made a full recovery from his May knee injury. The constant summer rains and Ranger's spoiled disposition made it really tough to keep him "stalled" for his 6 weeks of rest. I think we made it a full 5 before Big John deemed him healthy enough to be turned out. Boy was I glad! As the one home for the summer, it was my job to keep him out of mud, watered, shaded, and with enough grass to make the day. I spent many hours hauling panels here, there, and yonder to make him temporary pens. It was a pain in the butt. Once turned out, he did fine - running, bucking, acting a fool - until a couple of weeks ago. I just happened to look out the window one morning as he and Roxy flew by. He was definitely favoring that same leg. Big John took him back in, and the vet drained 70 ccs of fluid off the knee to be sent in and analzyed. He was sent home for another week of stall rest (oh, boy!) until the results were in. We got 4 inches of rain that day and the next - Ranger was stalled in mud, which was worse on his knee than just running. After a consultation with the vet, Big John decided we'd be better off to board Ranger there while he's being treated. We can't wait to get that bill!! The good news is that the injury doesn't seem to be related to the hole-in-the-knee episode from May - just a coincidence. He is being treated, responding well, and should be able to come home soon. We're trying to decide who sells a kidney to get him out of hock! He's Big John's horse, so ....

Roxy sure does miss him. She spends most of her time visiting with Brown and Gary or waiting at the gate, hoping he'll pull up in the trailer!

Daisy: Just when you think a lab puppy has outgrown the "puppy stage," they prove you wrong! Daisy spent many summer days driving me nuts. She got a little better with time, even cutting down on the amount of licking she does. (And she's a very pretty dog.)

And then things like this happen:

Big John dropped his phone in the yard one evening. Daisy found it. We wonder if she was trying to call Jess and Penny up in Vernon!

Chicks: Out of our 4 banty chicks that Broody hatched at the end of July, we've got 3 left. One developed splayed legs, so Big John had to put it down.

 A couple of days before school started, an amazing teacher friend brought an aviary she'd refurbished, complete with dove and pigeons, for our school garden. She had the cage the pigeons had been in, and was ready to dump it. I was in desperate need of a new home for the chicks. They were too big for the galvanized trough, and had found their wings. Escape/certain death was in their very near future! This cage was literally their life-saver!

We lost Broody and Stormy a couple of weeks ago, for no known reason. Stormy was dead on the north side of the house, and Broody didn't come in one evening. Blackie had gone broody about a month ago, so Big John and I decided to give our own eggs a try. She was ousted from her "mom position" by Poppy.

Now Blackie sits in vain, as we can't afford to give up any more eggs. Thanks to their deliciousness (and the salmonella outbreak) I'm constantly sold out of eggs! Blackie's/Poppy's eggs should hatch on Wednesday. I believe there are 5 left out of the 7 we set, so we'll see how it goes. Thankfully we have the pigeon cage to raise them in!

the rest of the gang: The pets are doing well. Tick wormed her way into the house again this summer, even getting a couple of new dog beds out of the deal. Daisy somehow gets to come in and join her, though she hasn't fully grasped the idea of "come in, lay down, and DON'T BUG ME." Occasionally she naps with Tick. Mostly she roams the house and eats all the cat food she can find.

Blue has the hang of napping. Maybe Daisy could take notes!

Mischa and Belle have gotten their summer haircuts - twice each. Fortunately Mischa doesn't know how she looks without hair. We try to keep her away from full length mirrors! There's a reason Persian cats have all that hair!

Walker and Tribett continue to serve no discernable purpose. Every so often (emphasis on "often") Big John and I will look at each other and say, "Never again." Geese are VERY LOUD. They're kind of like my kids at school: the louder you talk, the louder they talk! I love them - 'cause they're animals, and that's what I do - but I don't think I'll have any more geese. Lesson learned!

Poco has recovered from two snakebites this summer. He's finally regained some weight and resumed his "catwalk." We thought we'd lost him twice, and it would have been very lonely without Po. He's a survivor!

And Bootsie is still Bootsie - pretty as all get-out and skittish as hell. But she's our Boo - ready to flee at a moment's notice!

our stand of grass: if you remember, we got that acre and a half of grass planted the day the 10 inch rain started. Little did we know, this would be the wettest summer in recent memory. We sure wish we'd stretched those bales farther, but we do have one hell of a stand of grass! Roxy and Ranger have spent many hours in belly-deep grass, enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Days are filled with the joy/struggles of teaching 6th grade math. There's little time to spend outside, and soon the days will be so short I probably won't even see the farm in daylight during the week. We're still enjoying our summer harvests - pickles, hot sauce, veggies from the freezer. We haven't visited the produce section at HEB in quite a while - and you just can't beat the taste of home grown goodness! Life in the country is so good!