Monday, December 16, 2013

Not Feeling the Holiday? Me, either.

I know, you expected a glowing post about the holiday - or a short story with a holiday theme. Not this year, I just don't have the energy to fake it.

I lost my faithful canine companion last week. I'm not feeling Christmas this week. There is always next week, or next year.

Instead, I'm going to write about the farm, our home.

As I've written previously, the horses aren't getting along with the alpacas. I'm a bit worried, though I know that I can smooth things over between the two species, in time. I think I'll give it a few more weeks before I push them together.

Tonka is getting a little more tolerant every day. He spits less and the tone of his grumbling is less strident. Sometimes, when I say 'touch' he will lean his neck in my direction, protesting vocally, but not physically.

The geese are fighting, yet again. It appears to be one of the yearling ganders and the gander hatched this spring. I'm getting tired of breaking them up, I started kicking the ensigator outside. My plan, as soon as I figure out which is which, is to bring the females into chicken world.

The ganders can stay outside.

The ducklings have suffered some major losses. I've got 4 little bitty ones and 2 young yellow ones in the tack room. The light bulb in the brooder burned out last night, they survived by huddling together.

There were eight or nine older ducklings, getting their feathers, but I've lost all but four. One is very bold, came right up to me and sat on my foot this morning. It didn't like being scooped up, but I didn't want the horses to step on it. They wanted OUT this morning.

The chickens are finally laying eggs in tune with the season. I got three eggs yesterday and two today. They lay just enough to fill my orders and still have enough eggs for us. I'm fine with that for a couple more weeks. As soon as the days start getting longer, production will pick up.

Which brings me to the horses. The old gelding is looking very sleek these days. I've already bought 2 round bales. The horses demolish the bales as soon as they are off the trailer. I think the bales last 2 weeks, but I'm not sure. This is really good hay, so I'm pleased to be able to get it.

The old mare is having foot trouble. She's got some nasty cracks in her front feet and a big chunk taken out of one back foot. The weather hasn't helped, the stalls are damp from outside water wicking in. It doesn't seem to matter that I've got 8 inches of gravel under those stalls and 5 inches of shavings on top. The wet ground doesn't stop at the barn walls.

I've got the hens inside the barn all day. They fluff the horse bedding and generally scratch around in the stalls. It's good for the hens and the horses. I keep throwing more shavings on top, hoping to get above the wet, without any luck.

If I can get a couple of dry days I can improve things. But there's no sense in getting the lawn mower and the manure spreader stuck in the mud until either the ground freezes or dries. It's a typical winter problem.

I can get around it by driving out the front door and spreading the soiled bedding in the lower front pasture. That's what I did today. Got the old mare's stall raked smooth, which was all it really needed. Then did some major clean up in the young mare's stall.

If tomorrow is as bright as today, I'll get some more work done in the barn.

Wednesday, the girls are coming over to bake cookies. This is the fourth year that I've invited others to come so we can have a cookie swap. I've got to pick up a bit more sugar and flour.

Still not going to put up a Christmas tree, but the house looks nice anyways.

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