Archive of ‘The Farm’ category

Puddy Tats

Against my better judgement, I have been “talked into” another round of foster kitties.

One of my kitty-loving friends who also fosters for the local shelter and humane society sent me an email with pics of a pretty darned adorable litter and asked if I could foster them.

Side note: I keep my foster kitty families in the tack room in my barn. This way they have plenty of space, can run and play and climb things, and there isn’t a worry about a dog misbehaving and hurting a kitty. The downside is that there are kittens climbing all over my stuff and getting kitty litter all over the floor. For these reasons I was taking a break from fostering kitties. It was nice to have my tack room back!

My initial mental response was “no”, until I read “there is a male calico kitten”! You see, male calico kittens are very rare. Of all calico kitties born only 0.03% are male. To have a calico male requires and extra X chromosome. Male calicoes therefore have TWO X chromosomes and a Y. This also means that the majority of male calico cats are sterile. Only 1 in 10,000 is fertile. So they come “neutered”!

Here is our boy. He is mostly yellow and white, but has a grey spot between his shoulders which makes him a calico!

The rest of the litter are pretty darned adorable. The little guy on the far left in this pic is the cutest, fuzziest little yellow tabby and white you ever did see! The calico boy is on the far right and a yellow tabby sister is in the middle.

This is a calico female.

There is also a sweet gray tabby and a Siamese and white kitten. Mama is a solid yellow tabby so Dad must have been fuzzy. WHY ARE KITTENS SO CUTE?! These kitties are about 5 weeks old. We will probably have them until they are about 12 weeks or so. Old enough to get spayed/neutered. I am not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure we will keep the calico boy. If our current house kitty will allow another house kitty.

Farm Friday 04.28.2017

The theme of today’s Farm Friday post appears to be chickens!!! Chickens are the funniest and easiest farm animals one can own. The City of Austin will now PAY people to keep chickens! I can’t think of any reason why someone in Austin wouldn’t keep chickens now. Once you get their habitat established and it is predator proof, all you really need to do is feed and water them and clean their house periodically.

Boot City has been working very hard for the 11 years we have lived on the “farm” to improve the pastures. The hill on the front of the property looks completely different from the yucca pasture it was when we moved in and the chickens love to eat bugs there in the mornings.

 

Since the weather has been nice I have been leaving my tack room door open while I ride. I don’t want any critters making their home in my tack room so I’m usually pretty conscientious about keeping the door closed. Below is an example of just what will happen when the door is left open. She is a Cuckoo Maran (lays DARK brown eggs) and those girls REALLY want to live in the horse barn! They take up residence every chance they get!

 

I have an ongoing dialogue in my head that I imagine is the chicken water-cooler-gossip. I’ve posted pics previously of them lined up on the actual water trough. Since we finished the stall runs a couple years ago they also like to roost on the bars of the fences. I’m sure these girls are complaining about the gossip ol’ Henny is spreading about ol’ Bitty and Mr. Rooster. Hahahahaha!

 

My Dad often made poached eggs for breakfast on Sunday mornings when I was growing up. We had a contraption that poached the eggs without actually dumping them in boiled water. I didn’t really know that was how poached eggs were made before the contraption was available until I was well into adulthood. When I saw one at Williams Sonoma (different design than they sell now, interesting) a few years ago I bought one. The cups to cook the eggs were “non-stick”. Well, they said they were “non-stick”, they were actually not at all non-stick. After using it for a few years I finally threw the stupid thing away and got out my handy dandy Cooks Illustrated cookbook to learn how to ACTUALLY poach an egg. Turns out it is SUPER easy! Just boil some water with a couple tablespoons of vinegar and some salt. Turn off the burner, drop your eggs into the water (taking care to NOT break the yolks). Cook for 3-5 minutes and voila, you have poached eggs!

 

If you have any great egg recipes you should share them with me. We are still getting about 20 eggs per day (minus the ones Annie eats) and not selling NEARLY enough of them!

Happy weekend, y’all!

Farm Friday 04.21.2017

I’m looking forward to the Southwest Hound Show this weekend! If you live around DFW and want to see the loveliest fox hounds in the region you should come by! We will be at the Marvin Savage Farm, which used to be part of Greenwood Farm all day Saturday.

In the meantime, check out the goings on at the farm!

Sabrina, our foster fail kitty, LOVES her a box. She also loves the counter so a box on the counter is idea.

 

This is Dragon. I don’t think I have introduced her on the blog yet. Dougal was hit by a car and killed in December (so so so so so so so so so so so so so sad) and we were so lucky to get the opportunity to give his sister a home! Meet Dragon. She would dearly love for the baby goats to play with her, but she just ends up chasing them around and they are terrified of her. You can see how tiny the baby goats are and how tall (28″!) is Dragon.

 

I find the chickens in the wheelbarrow to be hilarious. It makes me sad that they won’t stay in the wheelbarrow and let me push them around. A girl can dream.

 

Why eat the hay when you can climb onto the hay bale and eat the much tastier tree leaves?!

 

Every ass needs a stage. Amiright?!

I love Egrets

Boot City sent me some photos last week of Cattle Egrets with our grazing goats. He knows that I love Egrets. The Cattle Egret, or Bubulcus ibis, is a species of heron that has evolved to a life adapted to following herds of grazing animals and eating the bugs that accompany those grazing animals. You know, cows. Or in our case, goats and horses.

I do love a symbiotic relationship when I see one. The bugs are always bad in Texas so it makes me feel better when I see the goats or horses being followed by some Egrets because I know they are at least helping reduce the bug irritation to the goats or horses! As the larger mammal moves around in the grass, they inevitably disturb some bugs and that is the meal for the Egrets. Sometimes the bird will even land on an animal (Jaguar) and eat the bugs right off them! I have witnessed this a few times, but never snapped a photo.

A little research on Wikipedia indicates these birds migrated to the U.S. naturally (they flew here, they didn’t come on a boat) as the herds of cattle became larger and more established, but originate from Asia, Africa and Europe. It isn’t often you read about a species being introduced that doesn’t wreak havoc on it’s new home; e.g. rabbits in Australia. Good on the Egret! On other continents the follow different large mammals. In Africa they follow Cape buffalo, wildebeasts, waterbucks and zebras. Clearly the African birds have a more exotic partnership.

We are just glad to have them back this spring. Hopefully they will stay a long while!

Farm Friday 02.24.2017

It is baby goat time at the Farm!  Enjoy some adorable pics of the kids, some foxhounds and one John Deere kitty!

This particular goat just LOVES to sleep on top of the round bale!

Our #fosterfail kitty is a big fan of the tractor seat for sunning and sleeping.

Baby goats can be quite aggressive when nursing. I always feel bad for the mama goat!

Our retired foxhounds live a very (not) hard life!

The goats’ favourite day is new-round-bale-day!

Farm Friday 09.09.2016

We had some AMAZING cool August weather, but alas it is hot again.

Early mornings make for great sunset viewing

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Kitties on a ’57 Chevy

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Lately Tarzan and Sabrina (we are probably keeping the mama foster kitty) have gotten on top of the barn a lot. Weirdos.

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Chivas and Charlotte in a rare moment of quiet and snuggling. Usually Charlotte is out and about.

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Coco after a ride. She’s at that stage where she knows what she should be doing, but is having moments of rebellion that are kind of annoying and kind of cute.

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Happy weekend y’all!

Farm Friday 08.19.2016

One trip to South Padre and I fall off the planet! I’m back. Sunburned and now peeling, but I’m back.

We have had AMAZING weather this past week. The week prior was hot and gross, so the cooler rainy weather is very welcome.

 

Dougal played in the rain last weekend and looked like a gigantic drowned rat.

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Bubbles the barn kitty likes to sleep on upside down farm implements. Boot City thinks it is so she can see rats better to eat them. I think it is because it was hot and this provides a lot of ventilation.

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I haven’t been riding as much as I should because it was hot. I did get a new Samford Bridle from the Beval sale to use as a schooling bridle. Turns out it fits Coco better than Sterling, but he’s the model. For a fantastic price point this is a really nice bridle. Way nicer than a similarly priced Dover house brand bridle I got a couple years ago.

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Every night when we clean stalls the young dogs have their own version of AFC fighting. Annie and Charlotte take turns tagging in to wrestle with Dougal. Dougal can’t get through the fences so he’s always stuck in one stall run while they run in and out. It is pretty cute and funny.

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And this is how Marby does laundry. Because. Marby.

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Farm Friday 07.29.2016

We have a chicken laying these teeny tiny eggs. They don't have yolks and so far we have found at least 6 of them! They make for great dog treats.

We have a chicken laying these teeny tiny eggs. They don’t have yolks and so far we have found at least 6 of them! They make for great dog treats.

Bubbles the barn kitty is doing very well. She stays put in her hay stall, but we can't touch her yet. Hopefully with time she will become friendlier and realise we won't hurt her.

Bubbles the barn kitty is doing very well. She stays put in her hay stall, but we can’t touch her yet. Hopefully with time she will become friendlier and realise we won’t hurt her.

This is Charlotte, our newest foster dog from Fort Worth Animal Control. She's a few months old and we think she's a German Shepherd cross. The shelter identified her as a lab mix, but she has decidedly German Shepherd ears, face shape and hind end conformation. She has learned to sit and wait her turn for meals.

This is Charlotte, our newest foster dog from Fort Worth Animal Control. She’s a few months old and we think she’s a German Shepherd cross. The shelter identified her as a lab mix, but she has decidedly German Shepherd ears, face shape and hind end conformation. She has learned to sit and wait her turn for meals.

We have had lots of pop up thunderstorms this week which make for some stunning sunsets.

We have had lots of pop up thunderstorms this week which make for some stunning sunsets.

We also have a mama cat with five kittens we are fostering for Fort Worth Animal Control. This is a cute tuxedo female from the litter. She was assisting with wash stall supply inventory and napping.

We also have a mama cat with five kittens we are fostering for Fort Worth Animal Control. This is a cute tuxedo female from the litter. She was assisting with wash stall supply inventory and napping.

Farm Friday 07.22.2016

I often think I miss a lot of posting opportunities about the farm animals so I’m starting a new regular post; Farm Fridays! They will consist primarily of just recent photos of happenings on the farm. Enjoy!

Tarzan spends the majority of his summer days sleeping on his favourite ottoman.

Tarzan spends the majority of his summer days sleeping on his favourite ottoman.

 

Pablo isn't often very friendly, but when he is he's pretty funny. He's very much a heavy-breather-in-you-ear kind of donkey!

Pablo isn’t often very friendly, but when he is he’s pretty funny. He’s very much a heavy-breather-in-you-ear kind of donkey!

 

Marby never ceases to entertain. Never. He also likes to hang out on the tops of vehicles of all kinds as well as buildings.

Marby never ceases to entertain. Never. He also likes to hang out on the tops of vehicles of all kinds as well as buildings.

 

 

Fall is time for Chicks

WWWAAAYYY back in September we got a very special delivery from the post office:

LIVE BABY CHICKS! PLEASE RUSH!

LIVE BABY CHICKS! PLEASE RUSH!

What many people may not know is that you can order chicks through the mail. When we order we select a delivery date and usually receive our order within a couple days of the requested date. We always order when the days start to get shorter. This assures we have hens laying eggs when the days are at their shortest and the older hens more or less quit laying altogether.  The post office calls the moment they know whom to call to pick up the chirpy little creatures.

Chicks are pretty easy to care for as long as you have the proper equipment and feed supplies. We always get Quik Chick with our order. This is basically a chick electrolyte. Traveling through the mail when you are only a couple hours old can be stressful. Quik Chick helps the little bodies recover from their journey and hopefully be less likely to get sick.

Quik Chik from Murray McMurray Hatchery

Quik Chik from Murray McMurray Hatchery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also buy a bag of Purina Chick Starter. Our feed store is a Purina dealer so most animals, with the exception of the dogs, eat Purina food.

 

Start and GROW!

Start and GROW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the little critters arrive home we get them out of the box as quickly as possible in order to get them some water and food. They haven’t eaten yet in their young lives and they are hungry!

31 little chicks in a box

31 little chicks in a box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We usually get 30 chicks; 10 of 3 different breeds. This time around they were Blue Andalusians, Ancona and Araucanas plus one “Free Rare Exotic Chick”. The rare chick is how the hatchery gets rid of excess chicks. We enjoy the surprise and our extra this time is a treat. Check out this little thing:

She wears a top hat

He wears a top hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He will have feathers sticking right straight out the top of his head when he grows up. Isn’t he adorable!

Chicks in their new house

Chicks in their new house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They have to have their beaks dipped into their water when entering the chick pen for the first time. This is to assure they know the sensation of drinking water and where to find it. They will stay in the chick brooder for about 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast they outgrow the space. They must also have a heat source until they are fully feathered at about 6 weeks. Until they they can’t keep themselves warm. It is nice to get them in the late summer in Texas because they don’t much need the heat lamp due to the high temps.

My next post will show you are “teenage” chickens!

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