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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hef and Ted.

I haven't been out and about with the cows like I have in the past.  William and Teddy did the feeding together and William has been keeping me updated on all the new calves.

He has told me that Teddy and the Heifer like to play together......a lot.  I was out there the other evening and this is what I saw.





Teddy nibbles Hef and Hef licks Teddy.  They are they same age and I suppose that's enough to base a friendship on.  I dunno............

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pop goes the Weasel.

I was potting up some seedlings and out of the corner of my eye I could see Tommy Two Tone doing what looked like cartwheels and back-flips on the lawn.  Oh dear...  Tommy was entertaining himself at the expense of some poor helpless creature.  

We are surrounded by wildlife here and the cats have all become serial killers.  Max had just dragged home a once beautiful grass snake.  I think he was beautiful at one time anyway...Max has got a thing about decapitating his victims.  I told him he was a horrid cat, but he just purred as he lay next to the dead snake.

Before I could go over and rescue Tommy's victim, Teddy took a run at TTT and he ran off.  Teddy stood staring at TTT's victim on the lawn.  I went over, dreading what I might see.

I was surprised to see a weasel curled up in a ball.  His mouth and eyes were open and still.  He looked like he was dead, but suspected different.  I picked him up a bit by his tail and then let him back down.  His long body went right back into a ball.  His eyes were still open and so was his mouth, but this time he had a paw in his mouth like he was trying to suppress a giggle.  Animals go into this state when they think they are about to die.  In the case of this weasel, it saved his life.

Knowing weasel man would be waking up any moment, I told Teddy to guard him while I went and got a flower pot to put him in it.  I held another pot on the top and had no hands free to do anything else.  TTT was long gone, but Max had come to see what I was up to.  One false move and Max would have weasels head off.  I had to shout for William and he came to help out.  After a bit he found the perfect thing to put weasel man in....who was already awake and making very cute little chattering sounds.

After we discussed all we knew about weasels and I took some pictures, Brad and William let him go, the other side of the meadow, away from the cats.  We all agreed we liked weasels.

Max thinks it's his lucky day.

Max is thinking...'a snake and a weasel in the same day...'

Now if only he was smart enough to get the window screen off the top of the aquarium.....

Completely forgetting he'd just been curled up and scared to death, the little weasel acted like he was a tough guy.

We'll meet again....said Max.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Greener pastures.

Dandylyons and Echo wait patiently as Brad checks the electric fence.  They are just being let into a little bit of extra pasture to eat it down before the grass dries out.  Echo had never gone through the gate there, before so I was eager to see what he'd do.  In the past every new gate I'd walk him through would be a huge undertaking.  He had a fear of going through gates.  I wanted to see if he'd follow Dandylyons anywhere......

He did great!  No hesitation.  William led Dandylyons through first and Echo and I brought up the rear.  He kept very close to me just in case.  I don't worry about him walking over me or kicking out.  He has always been extremely respectful.

He was sporting his break away halter.

A convoy of cattle trucks and livestock trailers went by on the road.

He ran over to Dandylyons...the comfort cow for the ages.  Dandylyons doesn't give a hoot about traffic or anything else.  She's completely bomb proof.

I always forget to take pictures of him moving because I'm enjoying looking at him.  He's a delightful mover.  When he's showing off, he arches his neck and lifts his little feet up high. Here he is coming back to me.

Not much to eat out here.  Our grass dries up pretty quick.

He keeps making sure I'm still there.

When he has checked out the fences and seems settled, I leave him...looking at  even greener pastures.  Keep dreaming Echo....that's alfalfa.

I'd like to turn him out with Dandylyons on the bluff, where he could explore acres and acres of canyons and draws.  I know he'd keep close to Dandylyons, but she is too old to walk far let alone climb all those hills now.  I will have to tame another calf to become my pet cow.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Re-cap and Wildairo up-date.

Wildairo forgot he is now a domestic horse and went sort of feral again.  Soon as he was left to his own devices, he formed a pasture gang with a few cows and did his own thing.

In case anyone has stumbled upon this blog who doesn't know the story up to now, I will give a recap of the last four years.

My mustang story began four years ago, in April 2008.  I have owned horses since 1970 and have ridden them since 1963.  I am really good with horses and was a very good rider.  I loved riding green horses in my youth.

I had been wondering what to do with my Morgan horse, Foxsun.  He had formed a tight bond with my pet cow, Dandylyons since her birth in 1991.  Knowing that cows don't live as long as horses, I worried that he would be heart broken and very lonely when she died, so I had my eye open for something to keep him company.  That's when I saw a notice in the local paper that the BLM was going to have a mustang adoption only a few miles from here.  I thought I'd get a little donkey feller for Foxsun to hang out with.

I'd had my ankle totally replaced 5 weeks before and I still had two months of none weight baring ahead of me.  There were no donkeys for adoption, but there were a of of nice equines that I thought would make good pasture pals for Foxsun.

At the adoption the horses looked a lot smaller than they really were.  I think I was thrown off because the fence was about 6 feet tall and made the horses look like ponies.  The fact they had shaggy manes added to the pony illusion.   All the horses in each group stayed well back in the corrals away from people.  I picked out a nice bright solid bay.  He was a bit weak looking in the back end and along with his best friend, he was nipping at the other horses .  He had a nice head and eye though.  I remember thinking, 'he'd never get above 14 hh'.   I just wanted a pal for Foxsun, so I overlooked the funny looking back end.

I'd never named a horse before.  I was told as a girl, that you never change a horses name because it's bad luck.  So I've always kept the names they came with.  I made up the name 'Wildairo' for my new horse.  Once he was home in our corrals I realized he was bigger than I thought he was.  He already was over 14 hh as a 2 year old.

I had so much fun working with Wildairo that I adopted another mustang, Echo, in July 2008.  They had been captured by the Bureau of Land Management on the same day in 2007.   They had two completely different personalities.  Wildairo was bold and bad tempered, but scared to death of strangers, and Echo was very timid and sweet.

I had planned to have Foxsun bond with them and then turn them all out together.  Foxsun is no trouble to catch if he needed to be ridden.  I thought Fox could show them the ropes and because he would never run off or do anything silly, he would be a good role model.  I even planned to pony them with Fox.

It was about the time that Echo came to live with us I noticed I had swelling in my joints, pain, blurry vision, difficultly with my muscles...walking, and the starting of extreme fatigue.  I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis.  It has been getting steadily worse.  I used to have days when I felt a lot better, now those days are not as often.

It turned out Foxsun didn't care for the mustangs at all and didn't want to hang out with them.  He preferred the company of Dandylyons or us.

In 2008 Foxsun had a case of Pigeon fever that went internal.  He seemed to recover that winter, but in the late Spring he became very ill.  He had a lovely summer wandering around the farm and he became quiet gelding about the house.  He died on the last day of summer 2009.  I was left with two semi wild horses and his old cow widow.

So much for all my plans....

Echo has become a lovable little horse, who is actually pony size.  Right now he's with Dandylyons, who at 21 is still going strong in the horse pasture.

Wildairo wanted nothing to do with me when I tried to go near him last fall.  He even thought about jumping out of the corral when Brad approached.  I turned him out again a few nights ago and he had a good gallop and then to my surprise he followed me back into the corrals.  The cattle were out of sight, so that helped.

What I've decided to do is start from the beginning and try to re-bond with Wildairo.  The good thing is, he likes me.  He followed me into the tiny little pen where I first gentled him.  I gathered all my mustang gentling tools.  Carrots, apples, brushes, ropes and a long scratching stick.  And of course a comfy chair.

Wildairo wanted to skip the first few steps of mustangs wrangling and get down to the carrot and apple part.  He got through that part of the training with flying colors.  The stick was a bit harder.  I had to use his carrot eating skills to lure him to walk up and past the stick by waving a carrot about.  Then he let me scratch his body with the stick.  I get very tired and have to sit and rest often.  It's hard to get back up.  He just stands next to me and lets my fingers play with his nostrils....'still training' I tell myself.

He has become very jumpy.  I don't remember him being like that before.  Last night I was standing with him in the little pen and was just managing to get my hands under his tangled mane for a good rubbing and something made him jump..really jump.  He whirled away so fast it made me jump.  Good thing was, he leaped away from me and didn't strike out at me.  Wildairo knows how to defend himself and has done so in the past.  Even though I can't get near him with a rope yet, he follows me into any pen which makes things much easier.

It's so hot today.  Almost 90F.  I'm not going to work with him tonight.  I'll just give him a carrot.  lol..that's pretty much what we've been doing anyway.  His mane and tail are so matted and I can't wait to get them brushed out.

Here he is last night.  Back in his baby play pen.. lol.

He's a lovable horse towards me.  But if Brad or William approaches, he races into the far end of the pen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Irrigation is going.

The irrigation has been started.

Here's William and Brad putting the pump strainer in the irrigation ditch.

William has to do the dirty work.

I also have spent hours in the ditch as a trainee.  It's actually nice when the weather is scorching hot.  A lot of the time I fell in though.   I was up to my chin in ditch water when I was pregnant with this lad.

Brad shook out his irrigation boots and a poor dead baby snake fell out.  He put it on this rock for me to see.  Poor little snake.  This should be a warning to always shake out your boots

They worked on our hay hauling truck.

Here's William showing me how easy it is to start now.  A job well done lads!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Springtime on the farm.

This is my favorite time of the year.  Brad was saying it's his favorite time as well because all the trees are in blossom, the weather is so pleasant and he hasn't started on the irrigation...yet.  Once the irrigation starts, the work gets hard.  This year he has William to help and they are getting lots of work done and things are looking good on the old homestead.

We really miss Bobby.  She was such a big presence in our lives.  She was the happiest dog we have ever known.   I wish dogs lived longer...a lot longer. I hate having to bury my pets.  Bobby is buried next to Foxsun under the apple tree.  Dandylyons will be buried there as well.  I would like to be buried there, but I don't think it's legal to bury people at the bottom of the garden anymore.  :)

My garden is managing to survive the deer, but just barely.  The damn deer won't let my shrubs and trees grow big.  I took Brad to see the lilacs I planted in the 'Foxsun memorial garden' that were in bloom for the first snag though.....the night before those horrid deer had gobbled all the bloom off them, as well as all the new growth.

I thinking of ways to stop the deer.  Brad's willing to put a huge electrified fence around everything, but that would look terrible and be so difficult for me to mow around.  I thought of making a scarecrow....I'd make it look just like me....scruffy hair an all.  And maybe leave a radio out there tuned into a talk program....right wing radio...that'll make them run like hell.

This morning I got up and saw this big deer the size of a small horse with her head stuffed right into my Peace rose.  I yelled at her and she high tailed it.  She didn't care that my wheelbarrow, bike and other things, that should have been put away, were right there.  Now I'm thinking about getting a guard dog, but I'm not sure I could leave a dog out all night.  In the winter she would be inside.  I don't know.  I do know, I'm really mad.  O yeah...that deer this morning had also gobbled down my little blueberry plants.

Here are some pictures I took over the last couple of days.

I planted flowers in pots in the beginning of April, even though we had weeks of frosts ahead of us.  I put bamboo sticks around the plants and every night I throw a blanket, or anything that's handy, over them to keep them warm.

I planted out my tomatoes on April fools day!  I put these water filled tee-pees over them.  One night it got down to 15 F and the water was frozen solid, but the tomatoes were fine!

My Four 0' Clocks are almost ready to plant out.  I seeded carrots, spaghetti squash, egg plants, ornamental grass and just tons of flowers.

This is my native plant area.  It's bigger than it looks here.  I put a nice swing chair on the highest point and I can relax and enjoy a nice view of the valley.  When the area grows tall, I will move the seat to higher ground.


I planted native plants like chokecherry, service berry, golden current etc.  I also planted spruce, elderberry, maple, lilac and more.  Although the deer really damaged everything, they didn't kill anything.

Today I took Dandylyons to work.  While I worked, she did some mowing.  Because she's toothless, it's nice and easy for her to eat this long grass.  She's a big distraction for me.  I keep going out to give her back scratches or just sit with her.  I used to take Foxsun to work.

Echo kept an eye on her from across the road.

Big moon tonight!  This is a picture I just took of the moon through some trees.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Evil doers attack garden.

A garden update might sound a bit boring.....but this garden update contains mystery, intrigue and the thrill of the chase.

Our story starts last Autumn.  Brad was impressed with my native plant area and to save me the effort of dragging a long hose across the lawn, he put some water pipe and taps closer to it.  Here's Brad and William plumbing things in. P1010163-1

Speaking of plums...My little plum tree had blown clean over and in an attempt to save it we put in back up, wrapped the cracked trunk with vet wrap and staked it. It lived! And grew one plum, it's very first. I was checking it every day to see if it was ripe to eat. One evening I decided to give it one more day before it went in me belly. Brad had gone to finish the water project and was shocked to see the garden had been vandalized!

They even took my plum! P1010145-1

The above pictures are just from the first round. The evil doers returned every night and did further damage.P1010338-1

One evening when I was parking my jeep, there was a big buck (stag) standing right where I wanted to park.  He was so arrogant. He had big antlers that he seemed pretty proud of and it was then I realized he was the one who was tearing up my trees and shrubs. He must have been jabbing his antlers in the branches. Anyway, I let Teddy out of the jeep and he ran off like the little doe he really was, lol. I had to do some serious thinking to come up with a cunning plan.

Here is what I rigged up... skull

It's a Halloween toy that is motion activated. It goes up and down on a string, eyes flashing as skull dude shouts out warnings..."like run for your lives"..."you're doomed if you go any further". I had a chuckle about 2 am that morning when I heard skull dude shouting his warnings and threats way off in the dark. Next morning I spotted deer tracks next to the skull and huge gouges in the soft soil as the deer bolted off. Trouble was the skull wasn't weather proof, so I couldn't leave it out in the rain. Brad rigged up a pole with light bulbs and a siren on the top that also had a motion sensor. The bloody thing went off when the wind blew the tall grass...all night long. It was like World War 3. With a little tinkering he got it set right. And then it went quiet. I thought the deer had enough and had left....until I went out there and looked. There wasn't much left of my natural tree/shrub area. The lights and siren pole was smashed on the ground and the 100 foot electrical extension cord was missing.

It seemed the vandal deer had been bashing his head around and got his antlers caught in the cord and took off with it. I thought it was my chance to catch him and teach him a good lesson. I imagined him tangled up in the sagebrush somewhere and it was with that vision in my head I decided to track him down and give him a taste of his own medicine. The thought of giving him a good smack with my hiking pole was the thing that kept me climbing ..until I got here.. 2011-10-13121530 2011-10-13121535

It must have been one of Foxsun's favorite places, judging by all the poo. I didn't know he went that far. Anyway, I gave up. I was never going to find him out there.  Next blog entry will be a quick update on the current state of things in the garden.