Monday, November 28, 2011


Whenever Mark helps our friends with farming, he leaves early in the morning so I am then responsible for 'chores'. He streamlined some of the chores in order to accommodate my abilities and since I've been doing them regularly I have become much stronger. There is something quite fulfilling in feeding the animals early in the morning. The animals are all happy to see me and the world is so peaceful then. It sure beats working out in a gym!

I grain the horses...
and the miniature donkey, Oats. See Buddy in the background? He's working on his 'stay' command. When he does, he is quiet...and so are the horses. If he's not 'down' with the 'stay' command, he barks and runs around excitedly which excites the horses. When I'm graining them, its best if they are calm. We're all learning!

The studs are peacefully eating at this point when the picture is taken. They vie for position at the feed bunks so it can be quite aggressive and lively until they settle into their social position. All the jockeying for position reminds me of the executive suite in corporate life!

The mares are calm on this day. As new mares were introduced to the mare pasture, it resembled the "mean girls" at school while they learned their social position. Lots of kicking and pushing. The boss mare is Boon. She's always been at the bottom of the pack in years past but this year she was in the pasture first so she holds the boss position. She's a sweet horse so the dramatics are minimal. If you recall, she is the mom of Duley who was born this spring here on the ranch.

These are the babies with Oats, who share a large corral. It was a beautiful warm day so after eating they sunned and relaxed until late morning when they ran and played around the corral. They are young so they are very playful and curious. When I am in their corral getting the grain for the other horses, the babies will come and bite my coattails, sniff around me and stand close to watch what I am doing. They can be a nuisance when they are soooo friendly but I love being around them.

It's then time to let the Dots out of their Dot House and to feed and water them. They are getting along now quite well but the Dots aren't laying eggs much anymore which is typical in the winter. I only have three spring chickens (born last spring) left and they've quit laying with the cold weather; and the black copper French Marans won't lay until spring so I don't get many eggs now.

I open the door to the Guinea Shack so the guineas can come and go as they please during the day. As you can see in the picture, the babies are growing and looking like miniature guineas now! There are 5 left and one has an injured leg so it stays in the Guinea Shack while the others venture out with the adults.  One day recently, Buddy was curious and went near the babies to check them out and one of the adults screamed, flew to Buddy and landed on his back. He now gives them a wide berth which is great so I don't have to worry about the safety of the little guineas. I feed and water the guineas in the Guinea Shack but they still like to eat weed seed heads, spilled grain, etc. They are still pretty wild but do return to the Guinea Shack often during the day for water and to check themselves out in the mirror (whatever that is about in the guinea world) and definitely every night where we lock them in.

Last but not least is to feed Buddy. He follows me everywhere in the morning doing chores. He is settling into the watchdog of the place which is good.

The chores takes me about an hour to accomplish and then it's time for the rest of my day. My garden chore today was to continue watering trees, this time the fruit trees and berry bushes. I will continue to deep water the saplings, small trees and then the established fruit trees - cherry, apricot and mulberry. We may be getting our first snow on Wednesday so I'm on a schedule to get the deep watering finished.

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