Well, Missy and Gomer did not come in to eat at 8A. I checked several times for late arrival and then got preoccupied sweeping and cleaning rust off of tools.
At 4P Missy and Gomer were no shows. So, with phone in pocket and a can of cattle cubes I set out to discover their whereabouts.
The first adventure in the pasture was the horse and donkeys seeing the can of cubes and deciding to follow me. What would that be? 1000 to 1500 pounds stalking me. I hid the can under my shirt. Fanny just quietly snuck up behind me and yanked at my shirt. I felt blessed that Stanley, huge boy cow, had not discovered me. There lay Gomer near the back fence. He was watching me, but didn't move. Perhaps I should say now that his horns stick straight out the side of his head. I never really noticed their size when feeding him cubes by hand.
Okay, back to the search, one cow found. Looking over the fence in to the creek bed I spy Missy. She seems happy to see me. I crawl through the barb wire fence. Have I mentioned my lack of coordination? Safely on the other side I entice her to follow me along the fence in search of a gate. Gomer has joined us on his side of the fence. I found no gate and no gap where she could have possibly fit. After some pondering on how to get us both on the right side of the fence I called Gary's friend Chuck.
My search had turned in to a search and rescue.
My knight in shining iron galloping up on a white steed arrived followed by four dogs. I need a picture of Chuck. He has snow white hair. (close enough) He too walked the fence and found no easy place to get back in. He is so kind and patient and very good at explaining things. Our plan was to loosen the fence wires and entice this massive cow to go through the wire. Yeah right…. Are you hilariously laughing!!!
Chuck left to get more food and fence repair tools. Chauncey and the other dogs decided to stay and protect me. Luckily Gomer was bored and lay back down just giggling away at my efforts to entice his mamma through the fence. Chuck returns with feed and tools to help loosen and then retie the fence to the posts.
Okay, get ready. I have the can of feed offering Missy cubes while backing through the barbed wire fence Chuck is holding open as wide as he can. My butt backing through was I am sure a sight he will never forget.
Missy stops at the fence, horns and nose through and pauses. I back up a tiny bit and feed. Finally Chuck says, "Get out of the way!" Missy burst through the fence. Gomer was right there watching everything very closely. Now Chuck and I get to putting the fence back together when the dogs decide to agitate Gomer. He was hopping (literally) around knocking in to Missy and generally causing a scene. Chuck is loudly encouraging the dogs to stop and me to get out of the way.
Everyone settles, but the cows are not going to allow Chuck to work on the fence. So, off I go enticing Missy and Gomer to follow me by feeding them cubes. NEVER turn your back on Stanley or Gomer!! Luckily, Stanley is nowhere to be seen. I am trying to walk sideways – backwards. I figure soon enough they will head to the feeding area or stop and graize. NO! Out of feed I try to get to the end of the field to the path to the feed area. (What is the real name for that area?)
Gomer what to try and encourage me to give him more cubes. A little head nudge. I held my breath and tried to get behind or beside him, but he wanted to rustle me back to the food area.
I now know how it feels to be herded!!!!
I am so blessed for Chuck's help!!!
We all made it back to the right place and Missy and Gomer were ready for dinner. Stanley joined us. I decided I had had enough of evading horns and gently tossed the feed cubes over the fence.
Chuck leaves and everything settles back down to normal. Just another day as a rough and tumble farmer.
She doesn't look sneaky or like she could fit through small spaces.
On Day 1 I told you all about the morning routine. At noon I feed Angel, the cat, a bit more canned food. The rest of the time between eight and four I do handy work around the farm. It is very interesting and Gary and Diana are very good about not over burdening me with work. I have cleaned up sprouting trees, scraped walls, cleaned up all the crud from the scraped walls, raked leaves (yeah, in January), cleaned up a burn pile (sorting for metal and using the rest to fill a large, gaping hole in a small garden area) and more. Oh, and scooping manure while the cows, donkeys and horse are not carefully watching me.
Just in case you wondered about the difference in manure appearance.
It is amazing how animals know what time it is.
I feed the four dogs. They get dry food with a protein additive ( eggs or bacon grease). Hot water is added to make a sort of gravy. The dogs sit in the sunroom right by the door to the family room where I am preparing dinner in a huge metal bowl. Several times I have been startled by what sounded like someone knocking at the door. I have discovered that it is either Ginger pawing at the door or Buster's excited tail banging at the door.
The dogs each have a dish. As we crowd out of the sunroom and on to the patio Ginger is gently, but forcefully directing me to her bowl first. As I go to her bowl the other three dogs go sit by their bowls and somewhat patiently await their delicious dinner being served by a master chef.
The cats are fed. Charlotte would eat everyone's food if she could.
On to the chickens. I throw the scratch and watch them run over each other to eat. While they eat I collect the eggs. Because of the variety of chickens on the farm the eggs can be white, turquoise, green, tan, light brown, dark brown or any mixture of those. I am so fascinated by the color variety. The yolk of the fresh eggs is so close to color in orange, and of course they are so very flavorful!! The chickens lay eggs in the weirdest places. I look in about seven places inside and outside of the chicken yard for eggs. I also survey the ground as sometimes one of the hens lays one in the yard.
Besides all the colors and the weird laying places I had no idea that more than one hen can lay an egg in a nest. I thought they were very proprietary about nests. Another cool thing is the temperature of the eggs. They range from various degrees of cold to hot out of the oven.
They other day a hen was in a nest when I went in the feed room to get the scratch. When I went back in the room their was a warm egg!
Everyday as I collect the eggs I say a general thank you to the hens. The variety of eggs and chickens is such a God thing.
When I was in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a farm we kept the eggs in a dish in the kitchen and not in the fridge. When the kids and I were in Italy the eggs were not in the refrigerated section. We looked all over for them and I am sure the clerk had a good laugh where showing us to the aisle with eggs on the shelf.
I am sure that there are places near everyone where fresh farm eggs can be purchased. Try 'em. They are usually cheaper than the cage free or organic at the store!
The big animals are the same routine as in the morning.
Then it is in to the house for some internet time and put away the eggs.
Fanny is Miss D.'s daughter. She is much bigger than her mom. Rumor has it that a mammoth donkey is her father.
This is interesting.
About the Mammoth Donkey
By Jane Meggitt
First in war, first in peace and first to bring mammoth jacks to this country. That might not be exactly what you learned about George Washington in school, but it's true. Washington, along with other contemporary far-seeing planters and farmers, imported mammoth donkeys from Europe to cross with mares for mule production. Hardier and requiring less feed than horses, mules worked the fields for farmers and pulled freight for the army.
To qualify as a mammoth jackstock breeding animal, a jack must stand at least 14.2 hands; a jennet must reach 14 hands. Jacks generally weight between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, the jennets slightly less. Any color is acceptable, but black, chestnut and roan are preferred by breeders of draft mules. The darker gray color of smaller donkeys is looked down upon by breeders. Any breeding animal should possess good conformation and strong bones. (Jack and Jill?????)
Donkey info from the dictionary about its name. Hilarious!!! Being politically correct is so important
At one time, the synonymass was the more common term for the donkey. The first recorded use of donkey was in either 1784 or 1785. While the word ass has cognates in most other Indo-European languages, donkey is an etymologically obscure word for which no credible cognate has been identified. Hypotheses on its derivation include the following:
Perhaps from Spanish, for its don-like gravity; the donkey was also known as "the King of Spain's trumpeter"
Perhaps a diminutive of dun (dull grayish-brown), a typical donkey colour.
From the 18th century, donkey gradually replaced ass, and jenny replaced she-ass, which is now considered archaic. The change may have come about through a tendency to avoid pejorative terms in speech, and be comparable to the substitution in North American English of rooster for cock, or that of rabbit for coney, which was formerly homophonic with cunny. By the end of the 17th century, changes in pronunciation of both ass and arse had caused them to become homophones. Other words used for the ass in English from this time include cuddy in Scotland, neddy in southwest England and dicky in the southeast;moke is documented in the 19th century, and may be of Welsh or Gypsy origin
Fanny and Miss D. are so cute, but LOUD. They are easily intimidated by the horse and cows when it is time to eat. They love to be fed by hand eating cattle food cubes.
Donkeys have very soft lips and the lips are extremely flexible and useful. Donkeys can use them to undo latches and all sorts of cute things. They eat very gently and take the food in to the lip space. I see their teeth, but have no fear of being bitten or swallowed alive. I have never even felt the teeth. They have actually nuzzled my cheek with their lips. (It has been awhile since I had a good nuzzle.)
Cats first – I am at my dining table trying to do y morning devotion and BB is walking all over the book, sitting on the book and basically being BB. Now I am in the house trying to type this and Angel, the cat that looks like BB, is walking across the keyboard, rubbing her head on the monitor corners, butting my hand and generally being BB, except she has front claws.
Chickens – Chickens are always happy to see you. The feed is in a little house that has the generator Mr. Zim used to power the Dr. Pepper plant. There is a big trash can that holds the chicken scratch. I just love that name for chicken feed. Really, OH MY! I just looked up the definition of chicken scratch and this is the first one that appeared.
Chicken scratch is a kind of dance music developed by the Tohono O'odham people. The genre evolved out of acoustic fiddle bands in southern Arizona, in the Sonoran desert. These bands began playing European and Mexican tunes, in styles that include the polka, schottisch and mazurka. (Wonder if it is like the chicken dance?)
Scratch is a mix of cracked grains. In the past it was a way to use surplus or spoiled grains that might otherwise be unusable. When purchased commercially, it usually consists of wheat, corn, oats, sunflower seeds, millet and various other seeds. It is NOT complete nutrition. It keeps them busy and feeds their need for such energy foods as found in grains. It is ground coarse, to a size preferred by chickens.
Back to feeding the chickens. There is a shelf at the same height as the top of the feed bin. At least one chicken jumps up there and starts pecking at my arm until one bucket of feed appears and is set down on the counter. She flings it all over and of course the already gathered chickens start to rush in. I throw a small handful outside the feed house. and then head off to the main chicken coop area. Many of the chickens do not realize this is their designated area. Since I have the food and am walking away from the feed house a brood of chickens begin to follow me. I open the fence to the chicken area and hold it open so the "yard" chickens can enter. I throw food all over and the chickens follow me around like they haven't eaten since 4 the evening before.
After I came in the house, after the chickens, I fed the cats. I like easy! Cats and chickens are easy!
On my way to the feed house I noticed that no big animals were in. After the chickens and cat I look and only the horse is in. Can't put the feed out with just her there. She will eat it all. She bullies the cows and donkeys and tries to eat everything. She is fairly easy to shoo away from the other animals, but who wants to make a huge horse angry while in the pen with her and 5 other huge animals that aren't happy that she is stealing their food?????
Okay, the big guys and girls aren't hungry yet. I go to my trailer and return about 15 minutes later and no animals. So I start walking out to the field and see the two donkeys and can see at least one cow in the trees. I call them all by name a couple times and head back to the pen. The donkeys obliging follow and I hear a cow moo. I go to the pen and put out the feed, BUT…….no Gomer or Missy. So, I head back over to take another look in the field and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but two huge cows at the gate to the street. Not on the yard side of the street!!!! They had gotten out. I would like to think that my previous calling had brought them home. ha ha They were probably hungry. Both of these cows will eat from your hand so I run to the feed house and get feed. (Not yet 9 a..) I open the gate carefully so that Chauncey, the dog, doesn't escape. In hindsight I should have given the dogs a treat and left the inside the house. Luckily the gate opens in and I show the cows that I have feed. Then the dogs start barking and the cows are like … "Do we really want to go in there?" OH MY!
Eventually Gomer comes lazily lumbering in as I bribe him with feed pellets, never turning y back on him. Mommy is less anxious to come in with the dogs, so I throw some feed inside the gate and she goes for it. If you know me at all, you know I can't through. So, the back couple hundred pounds or so of Missy is just not tucked in enough to close the gate. OH MY! I gently, but firmly try to shoulder her over. YEE HAW! She is in and the gate is closed. Now to get then in the field or pen. Aha, they are looking toward the pen, so the decision is made for me. Easy street!!
Don't count your chickens before they are hatched or your cows before they are in the pen. Something got the dogs started barking and off the cows went, not in the direction of the pen. So, I run to the house to get dog treats. Notice all the running?! I come out and find that the dogs have actually herded mama to the pen gate (or she ran there in the hopes of a safe sanctuary) and she is watching me as if to say, "Hurry up and get over here and let me in!!" One in and one to go. Luckily Gomer was not far away in the yard and he followed me chomping along on the feed and saving it to chew later. Two cows in. Ah, life is good!!
I get Missy her special feed and a few additional cubes for Gomer. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but two dogs in the pen. Deep breath! Open the gate and they happily come out thinking there are feed cubes for them.
So, here I sit all calmed down and ready to get to work. In case you are wondering, Angel gave up about the fourth paragraph and went off to curl up. I am getting the occasional evil eye.
Ten in the morning. What have you done so far today?
If you find typos and spelling errors on any post, PLEASE let me know.