It’s been so long since I’ve written that you may have wondered if the Zombie Apocalypse happened here.
And while we did lose a couple of chickens, it appears the cause was more bad luck and a very clever, quick fox than the undead.
The truth is that between my day job and our busy life on the farm there’s not been any spare time to write. So I finally vowed to carve some out so we could get caught up! Ready?
- We sold Wilhelmina (to a really great home, more on that in a moment)
- Matt bought a tractor
- We lost two chickens
- We discovered that our multi-colored chickens are not Astralorps, they are Americanas!
- Matt got a black Lab puppy and named him Levi
- We added an arena for the horses
- We added a new shelter for the horses
- We added two new critters, and finally
- We put a roof on the compost bin (which is actually exciting news if you know anything about composting).
- For those of you who rolled their eyes at the news of the compost roof, I will use this little anecdote to explain why it’s so important:
Imagine it’s night in the middle of a wind-blown rainy Pacific Northwest winter. The rain is drumming on the metal roof of our farm house, a sound that makes me smile as I envision the horses all dry and happy in their new big shelter; the chickens snoozing comfortably on their perches, safely tucked away in their coop; and the dogs snoring and twitching on the floor as they dream about boldly chasing deer out of the back yard.
With these peaceful thoughts, I drift off to sleep.
Not so for Matt.
He hears rain and his thoughts run like this:
I wonder if the septic system is flooding out?
I wonder if that leak in the roof is going to come back?
I wonder if the fields will dry up enough to not be destroyed when Amy wants to turn the horses out?
I wonder if the plastic cover on the compost bin is staying fastened or if it’s blown away?
That last one is why we had a top installed on the compost bin. And of course, made sure it was a red roof.
So, back to Wilhelmina, our 3/4 Friesian cross filly out of Neela, our Friesian/Quarter Horse mare, and Litrik, a STER Friesian stallion. She caught the eye of two of our riding friends from Colorado, Mary and Michael Ellenberger, who decided the filly would make a perfect addition to their herd of two: a Welsh cross mare and an Arabian gelding. Both Mary and Michael are active members of the Weld County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, so I knew Wilhelmina was going to a caring home where she could not only show off her gorgeous looks but also have a job. And since she has her dam’s very sensible nature, Wilhelmina has a strong sense of purpose. She would not have been happy simply being another pretty face. Although, what a face!
Of course I cried when she left.
After the departure of our first farm baby, we got our first farm geriatric: A sweet old (very old – 34!) gelding named Silver, and his devoted sidekick, Lola the goat. Silver came to us as a boarder (his previous board situation dissolved when the farm he was at sold) and since Lola was part of the package, she came, too. I held my breath when they arrived–introducing new members to a herd can be a dicey thing, and one that ends with someone being injured–but we took it slow and kept them separated by a fence, putting each horse in with Silver one by one so they would not overwhelm him, and it went fine.
But wait, I’m out of order! The tractor? A brand new, bright orange Kubota. I dropped Matt off at the ferry and he later drove home on it, grinning the whole way. He smiles every time he sees it. It’s a tractor thing. And a back thing–cleaning out the compost bins is now a job that has been reduced from a back-breaking four hours to an easy 30 minutes!
The chickens? Well, one somehow just died in the barn–we don’t know what happened as there were no obvious signs of trauma. The chickens like to wander into the barn and lay eggs and one day we had one less chicken,and a few days after that, Matt found her body.
The other chicken was snatched by a ^%$@#! fox, judging from the feathers left behind near the coop and also that Matt found in the woods. We both took it very hard; I had no idea chickens were such cheerful animals, and losing one that way was tragic.
Since then, we have tried to be more vigilant and more random with our appearances to check on the chickens, and it seems to be working. I do a head count every night as they toddle into the chicken coop: Three red, two white, four black-n-white and one rooster–all present and accounted for!
The lack of presence of Mr. Fox could also be the result of the presence of a new, yet very large puppy: Levi.
Levi is pure black Lab, solid muscle and boundless energy. At seven months, he weighs 55 pounds, and that’s with a lean build. He has a throaty bark that makes him sound like a Doberman, but his nature is all Lab–he’s happy to see everyone. He loves “Wilson” – if you’ve seen the movie ‘Castaway’, then you know who that is. Wilson makes Levi very happy. Matt is also doing some basic search training with Levi who seems to have a knack for it – he trails the footprints of anyone who has recently walked on the farm.