My Tunes

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The many faces of Biskit.

I have never known another dog like Biskit.  She is full of mischief, does very naughty things and yet it's hard to be mad at her.

Right from the very start, Biskit wanted the shotgun seat and so Teddy had to sit on her!
 photo 38f470dc-b070-4316-b293-9df8e07c48cf_zps182956bf.jpg

Now I have two Australian shepherds in the front seat.   Teddy is wearing a hat.  I don't know why.
 photo 5ebdda09-1079-4df8-945a-7d6a270c330b_zps582d455d.jpg

Biskit has funny ears.  They seem to reveal what is going on in her brain.  Here her ears are in the neutral position.
 photo bcb59bdb-115c-4790-84d6-81641c81bdd6_zpsbb246c47.jpg

When one ear sticks up, it's a sign she's starting to have wicked thoughts.
 photo d4cec6ae-92ec-4852-adad-0116500324b3_zps2b590382.jpg

When both ears shoot up...LOOK OUT!
 photo 8d27590f-02ee-44b1-8104-35cb09d7b893_zpsf9f6cdc8.jpg

Usually when her ears shoot up she has to carry out mischievous stuffing her head into a box or destroying something in the house.
 photo c0da15d9-3f5a-43b1-8e62-a81b4dfa9827_zpsb028e2ed.jpg

Here she is right after I found her up to no good.  When she's in trouble she runs to one of the other dogs or a person to protect her.  This day we were alone in the house and so she ran to the dog chair and tried to look innocent and pathetic.  Look at the side of her mouth....that's part of the corn (maize) cob she took off the table to shuck and nibble all the corn off.  I held it up, like I do with some of the things she's destroyed, and say, "Who did this?"  and Bisket puts her ears into the 'begging forgiveness' position.
 photo 4d4ebf76-2883-4703-9042-f0f8a9f432b9_zps0b3dde44.jpg

Like this.  Her ears almost disappear and she sometimes shows me her gums.  
 photo ca11bbae-d17b-494e-940c-db8964b20283_zps9d7aff28.jpg

Here's a list of what she's destroyed or damaged.  My phone cover, two remote controllers, a calculator, my straw hat, my prescription glasses, an expensive cushion for my back, important documents, book covers, chair legs, rugs, pens, pencils, sculptor tools, pot plants and more.

She goes through a lot of trouble to get things she wants, like jumping up on tables.  She pulled my bag of the table, emptied and sorted through it.  She chewed up my glasses case to get to what she wanted, my glasses.  She raced around the house with them throwing them and chewed them up.  I thought she was playing with her teething keys, until she threw what was left of my glasses at my feet.

As soon as my back is turned she's up to no good.  She tore the rubber backing of my TV remote control and pre-programmed into it a kids program called 'Noodle and Doodle', which she was watching when I walked in.   It's hard to stay mad at her.  We thought she was house broken, but one day she was having so much fun outside, she forgot to go.  She did a poo in the dining room, on what is left of the oriental rug.  Right on the top of the pile, like a flag on the summit, was one of her puppy teeth.  So we ended up laughing about that.

This was her first time shopping.  She was bit nervous and so we put her in the cart and she climbed into the front part.  She has been shopping since and is remarkably calm.  She walks along so quietly and doesn't put a paw wrong.  She is the same around the cattle.  She knows when it's time to play and when it's time to behave.   photo 045e76e3-3a3e-44a6-9905-4028ceadb831_zpsdbfee650.jpg

Last week she was spayed and micro chipped.  The next day she was playing with Teddy like nothing happened.  She loves Teddy so much.  Yesterday, when Brad took out her stitches, it took three of us to stop her from wiggling.  I think she's hyperactive.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jet Lag didn't make it.

The day following the massacre, he was comforted by the only remaining hen.  He could walk about a little bit and spent the day in a few different places, with his hen snuggled up to him.  He died that night.

I have been torn about posting the picture below because it's so sad.  It's Jet Lag's last day on earth being comforted by the last of his girls.
 photo 920d94db-8a98-4987-9cee-60c68e3e7840_zps3f66a2cf.jpg

The gate was open but the hen chose to remain the entire time with Jet Lag.  He was a wonderful and brave rooster.  I really miss him.

The widow and widower have teamed up.  At first they didn't get along and Ducky Boy was sporty a bill full of hen feathers.  Now they understand they are the flock.  They sleep in the duck house which is more secure and they sleep side by side.
 photo e40b9d8a-7900-47a4-8038-4341f699aea4_zpsbaaae611.jpg

They don't have much in common.  He likes puddles and flying.  She likes pecking about and long leisurely dust baths.  They are learning to compromise.  I guess birds of different feather can flock together.

The moral of the story is; If all hell breaks out, if you can't fly away, then stay on your perch.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Murder and mayhem.

A terrible tragedy to report from the farm.  This is how it all went down.

My sarcoidosis has progressed and the pain makes it hard for me to sleep, so last night about 3 am I gave up and took a pain killer.  I save them for the day time when I need to get things done and for the first time since my latest operation, I took one at night.  Afterwards I fell in to a lovely deep sleep only to be awoken an hour later by Blondie barking her head off downstairs.  I tried to ignore her for ages, but in the end went downstairs and let all the dogs out.  I regret trying to ignore her.

Blondie and Teddy ran to where the deer like to hang out in the garden and I stood there with Biskit body slamming me in an attempt to herd me.  It was then I heard our Ducky Boy in the meadow.  Ducky Boy does not go out at night and so I walked over to talk to him.  He flew over my head and towards the hen house.  I went in to get a light.  Biskit continued to try to herd me.  As I walked to the hen house I saw the door was open and knew something horrible had happened.  A beam of light on the ground told the tale.  Bodies everywhere!

Something low to the ground was moving through the tall weeds and I shut the gate to the pen hoping to trap it in and limped/waddled as quick as I could to the house to summon help.  "Help Help I need help"!  I yelled up the stairs.  Brad and William came running out.  My boy holding a big gun.  Biskit tried to herd them.  I grabbed a rake and told Brad to grab the shovel.  William put Biskit in the pick-up because she was really getting on everyone's nerves at this point.  Blondie had run back inside shivering and Teddy was looking for deer to herd.

Whatever it was had gone.  Only a hen, who kept on her perch, and Ducky Boy were untouched.  Jet Lag, our rooster, is badly hurt.  Everyone else is dead. This morning JL is resting with his head down.  He has lost many feathers and has been bitten on his back and neck.  I sprayed some pain ointment on his bare patches.  I'm hoping it's just shock and pain and not some internal injuries.

We suspect the badger, that Brad and William have seen a few times hunting gophers, is the killer.  If only he stuck to gophers.  The mother hen is very protective and Jet Lag always has been, and it seems they put up a huge battle when the badger tried to make off with one of them.  Badgers are extremely vicious when cornered.  Jet Lag's feathers were all mixed in the hens, which were spread outside all over the pen.

Poor Jet Lag.  I feel so terrible for him.  He's a wonderful bird.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Putting up the timothy hay.

First day of cutting.  William takes his dad some cold water.  Brad is cutting the timothy grass under our circle.
 photo 34bcae30-eb2b-4e2f-89b7-d85b298c9a92_zps9072da18.jpg

We bought a dicsbine to cut the grass.  We are retiring our old swather....well it kind of retired its self.   Brad is the one who cuts the hay, but here he's off enjoying the refreshments we brought him.
 photo d6281055-0478-449a-8d0e-032561a6f057_zpsa4bc17f9.jpg

Before it's baled, it's fluffed up with a hay tedder.  With alfalfa we rake two rows into one.
 photo c495347a-64b4-4276-aaad-9e58219caf08_zps4d4bea92.jpg

Hot dogs.  It was too hot for the dogs.
 photo 5351d8ce-e680-4db0-82bb-16364b644dae_zpsed5a30ce.jpg

I can't stand up for long because of my injured back, and desperately needing to get out of the sun, I sat with the dogs in the tall timothy.  I leaned against the circle wheel and my feet in the deep wheel track and it was rather nice till I panicked when I heard the tractor coming.  I forgot I was safe against the circle wheel as I struggled to get to my feet.
 photo 4c2646f9-a0f0-4495-b37e-783851062684_zps346407eb.jpg

William is the one who does the baling.  The timothy was as tall as me in places and made huge windrows.
 photo 0377110a-5d4d-4e9f-a5c0-327b5dc63adf_zps0aacc208.jpg

Brad operates the tractor picking up the bales and William drives the truck.  They had about 30 loads.
 photo b8a9e2c2-9712-4bbd-9410-8d70fb366140_zpsacff701a.jpg

William took this photos for me.  I'm so glad I wasn't there when this happened!  Brad was putting a bale on the top row of the trailer and it rolled off and landed on to the top of his tractor!  It's a jolly good thing the tractor has a strong cab or else it would have ended bad for Brad.  The bale weighs over 1100 pounds!
 photo 3eee24ca-3d47-4c9b-8316-28e3cc025dc6_zpsd846c9a0.jpg

It looks like cows are going to be eating this hay in Japan!  I hope they enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wildairo and Echo have visitors.

A few mornings ago I was up early taking the puppy out, when I saw something that gave me a fright.

On our driveway, the bit that disappears over the rise then down to the road, I saw three dark large shapes.  Without my glasses on, my imagine ran wild.  Our cows are light colored, so it wasn't cattle.  My worse nightmare is the two mustangs escaping.  But it couldn't be them because there was a third dark shape with them.  I always think outside the box and so I wondered if it wasn't the two mustangs with a moose that happened by.

I told Brad to take a look.  He said it looks like horses all right, but couldn't tell which ones it was.  It was William who informed me he could see Wildairo safe behind a fence.  Great relief!  He would be he hardest one to get back in.

I have another ruptured disk, along with all the nerve pain that goes with it.  I have been scheduled for another operation...yuck.  I felt pretty helpless.  I told Brad and William if Echo was out, I'd get my hiking poles and try to get to him.  No one else can catch him.  As it turned out our mustangs were behaving themselves and it was a neighboring horse and mule paying them a social visit.
 photo 6a9547e5-9ee1-4f94-a8cb-e2778339c5af_zps5e255e9b.jpg

Brad and William gave me a full account of what happened and Brad took the picture above for me from the public road looking up our road.  Horse and mule trekked down from the hill that is seen behind them.  They have a 300 acre pasture back up there.  The mule was one of Foxsun's old friends.  Back when Foxsun had the run of the place, while out on a hike, I saw him off in the distance, visiting with the mule over the fence.  Once the cows moved off, he left the mule and ran off to join his cow herd.  Foxsun's had his own social circle unknown to me.

Echo chatted with the escapees for a while and after he failed to impress them by spinning yarns about his days as a wild mustang, he walked off in a huff to go back to Dandylyons.  Horse and mule then went to pay Wildairo a visit.  When Wildairo couldn't be bothered to lift his head from his breakfast, the horse reached over and gave him a hard bite on his bum, which made Wildairo squeal and run off.

The owners came and got them in a stock trailer.  They told Brad that both horse and mule are in their 30's and retired.

I took these pictures of Echo some weeks ago when I got around better.  I was trying to take a picture that just wasn't of his breathing holes.  I kept trying to move around him.  He was a bit muddy.
 photo b8376475-12e4-495e-bd28-30a22ba5566c_zpse20591e1.jpg

He's finally reached the stage where he wants to be worked with.  The other day I took Dandylyons across the road to graze and when I took her back Echo wanted me to put the rope over his nose......maybe hoping he'd get to go across the road.  So I did and he like it.  When I walk with Dandylyons along the road people slow down and smile.  It must be funny seeing a cow going walkies, but I'm so used to her I forget the oddity of it.  Here's Dandylyons doing some yardwork.
 photo 1902626d-27a8-49ad-9fd0-665a3c9e3830_zps6d560b13.jpg

Still trying to get a good picture of Echo.
 photo df0acc70-278d-4338-aec2-79ef633bf855_zps9f8c78a6.jpg

For the first time in about 8 months, Echo had his halter on.  He held still like a good boy and was really happy when I led him about.
 photo e60bffa5-2fbc-413c-a608-89072b1bb952_zps21d1a279.jpg

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why has Teddy got this funny look on her face?

 photo ac17a76a-b23b-412a-af61-ff9251cf9353_zps57c947d8.jpg

The bigger picture reveals the answer..........She has become a big sister!
 photo 488b2452-484f-4f28-9c8a-a1259d67d700_zps0ca064a1.jpg

Teddy's Mini-Me, Biskit was born on April 28th 2013.
 photo d7897f03-fd52-492c-a22d-2195dc8bed9f_zps3e71d2d6.jpg

One day I was sitting on a bench with Teddy, having a rest while shopping.  A lady walking past did a double take.  She told me her daughter-in-law had a dog that looked just like Teddy and she'd had a pups two days earlier.  I selected a pup who was the same color as Teddy.  The breeder put new pictures on-line as the pups grew and I have been getting so excited about our new pup.

Thursday I had to have another MRI in Moses Lake, and we were able to pick up our little pup on the way home.  Here she is right after we drove off.  Look at how relaxed Teddy and Biskit are.  It's like they have known each other all their lives.  
 photo f611a71e-a4e4-46eb-a76c-b190cff057a7_zps8a707552.jpg

Biskit seems to be a bit bolder than Teddy.  Even though we have been taking Teddy almost everywhere with us since she was 6 weeks old, she still is very shy.    She will growl at people if it looks like they are coming towards her.  As long as people ignore her, she is fine.  She will calmly walk behind people or through crowds, but when someone looks at her, in her mind they are getting out of line.  Just like cattle I suppose, she likes to see people moving away from her.  At the dog friendly stores, she begs for dog treats at the check-out.  Funnily enough that's the only time she tolerates people looking at her and she will even let them pet her.....for a treat!

Here is Teddy at the feed store getting a treat.
 photo f2eb89c2-f789-42a5-b32f-f8aed1155e79_zps73127b85.jpg

Biskit has been chased and pecked by my one eyed hen, Henrietta and mother hen, Clucky.  Other than that, she's having a great time.  She comes when I call her and in the 24+ hours we have had her, she has asked to go outside and hasn't had any accidents indoors.  We are well pleased with her.

Teddy was letting Biskit jump all over her back and was pretending not to notice, but later on was really rough housing with her.
 photo d0b7af74-a49b-44e5-8bcd-f9c63760ae0c_zpse6f4ca03.jpg

Here's Biskit on the move.
 photo 50b4c6d9-7c5c-491d-a950-095c61b1ca1e_zps2108eac1.jpg

Teddy and Biskit are Australian Shepherds.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jet Lag has something to crow about.

Our rooster Jet Lag has been really pleased with himself.  This is why...on the fifth of June he became a dad.
 photo 25db3b1a-ba06-4896-9ee8-b0e32daf091a_zps5b6d0cc0.jpg

We have been preventing the ducks from having ducklings, but completely forgot that we had 7 hens and a rather active rooster.  The hens are Rhode Island Reds and have never become broody before.  Well, that is what we thought until Clucky showed up with her brood.
 photo b2a3dc08-84c5-44a2-b418-cea328b5ba02_zps5eac1036.jpg

We've had a lot of ducklings here, but having a chicken hen with chicks was a first for us.  My chickens were born in an incubator and raised under a heat lamp and so it is fascinating to watch the little family.  It's lovely to see what good mothers chickens make.
 photo cfa113c7-84a8-436c-883c-387a31e369d0_zps17ebc76a.jpg

I put Teddy on a lead to show her the chicks for the first time.  She was too busy looking at the bread I was tossing, to notice the chicks.  It wasn't until I finished tossing bread, she noticed the chicks.  She let out a big sigh and put her head on my lap as it was like she was fully expecting chicks to show up one day.  She is a farm dog after all.
 photo 6b250631-299d-45c8-aa83-bf967bd33ed7_zpsa1574f58.jpg

Soon as I took Teddy's lead off, she went looking for the bread.  Clucky trusted Teddy but our cat, Tommy Two Tone chased the chicks and then was chased by their mother.
 photo d230cc76-cacf-4d42-9c36-3ad5587880a7_zpsec79d2de.jpg

Clucky and her brood spent the first night next to the stone house out in the open and she was vulnerable to any predators that happened along.  Her chicks had a little hole in the stone house that they would run into.  The next day I made a pen using these fence boards that we bought to make a chicken-proof kitchen garden.  I pulled a section across when they settled in for the night and put up old glass windows to keep weasels out.  It worked out to be pretty good.  During the day time they can go anywhere they want, and they go on bigger adventures everyday.  I bought 'chick starter', a chick feeder and water dish and have been kept entertained by it all.  Life is good.  photo 77d1aa10-f8aa-42e2-84bf-46126e63d2c8_zps1971d674.jpg

Monday, May 27, 2013

The American Cemetery in England.

I spent 6 weeks at my parents house in England and I had a lovely time.  I did some work in their garden and really enjoyed it.  Gardening is what love to do and it was great to make myself useful.  Their orchard area inspired me to start my own orchard here this Spring.

The last few days in England were spent at my oldest son's house in Suffolk.  Keegan is in the US air force.  On the way to his house we stopped by the American cemetery in Cambridgeshire.

Very quiet and somber.  So sad to think these brave men never made it home.

American graves in the English countryside.
 photo 25df4195-4cf9-436a-bc89-105c4ef4a20b_zps67342d20.jpg

The cemetery covers over 30 acres and contains 3,812 graves and has 5,127 names of the missing on the wall.  The names include the missing band leader, Glen Miller and the older brother of President Kennedy, Joseph P Kennedy Jr.
 photo 0efb52ef-2dfa-4748-8d96-fe9da3f3dfca_zpsaa766e48.jpg

The memorial building is filled with military maps and information.  I found Washington State seal on one of the windows.  It is a very peaceful place with reflecting ponds and plenty of places to reflect.
 photo 526a8b00-cb71-4e26-8396-7d0c6398c74d_zps9332e3e4.jpg

Statues representing all the branches of the US military stand against the wall of the missing.
 photo 0e74f94f-efdb-4184-9246-3ad89732d9b0_zps6ee584de.jpg

 photo 5befb3ff-b08f-482d-b9ef-9fae09a6744f_zps68901da7.jpg

It is by pure coincidence I'm posting this today of all days.  Today is Memorial Day in the US.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My home town, Bedford, England. October 2012.

                                       My Home Town, part two.  

This is a statue of the famous prison reformer John Howard, 1726 - 1790.  He had a 200 acre farm in Bedfordshire, just outside the town.  As a teenager, I spent many an hour planning mischief with my friends on the step of this statue.  Also this is the town's market place on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
 photo ac5f7b47-83a0-4076-8593-f24fbc1dedf1_zps6a865698.jpg

Another famous local, John Bunyan 1628 - 1688.  He was imprisoned at the Bedford County Jail (gaol) for twelve years, 1660 - 1672, where he probably wrote his famous book, The Pilgrim's Progress.
 photo 9e3e868e-7ff1-4c32-a017-9540bf6168b8_zps90d13470.jpg

This is Bedford High Street and the famous John Bull clock.  The taller building, in the background and on the left hand side of the street, is where the Bedford County Gaol (jail) stood for hundreds of years.
 photo 71f18216-545a-4f39-ae48-cba7c1e1d7f4_zps030bc2fa.jpg

This is the Embankment.  The times I've walked along here...............
 photo b2f2004a-c08e-4c93-8f6a-8c1bdf9a5ba5_zpsc179d0ef.jpg

The lovely Swan Hotel on the Embankment.
 photo 1c3e8d49-47d5-49b1-9dd5-170ef6a8e2e3_zpsf8dc8bed.jpg

When I was a teenager I wanted to cross the Great Ouse River on my trusty steed Brandy, as many ways we could.   So we did, from the brick bridge in Great Barford to wading across the ford at Clapham.   All the time hoofing it.  This was a moment of glory for us...the day we clip clopped across the Bedford Bridge.  It's a funny thing, but I never told anyone at the time...who knew 43 years ago there'd be a thing called the internet and I'd be writing about my adventures.
 photo ff75404c-3747-4174-8bb9-217c6ae044b1_zps5a92c628.jpg

Crossing this Suspension Bridge was fun.  Brandy was always up for a challenge, except he wouldn't go in a horse trailer.  One day a woman who owned his pasture buddy, a show jumper, was going to a gymkhana/horse show, and asked us along.  We practiced loading Brandy the night before and not matter what we tried, Brandy wouldn't load.  We tried every trick in the book.  The next day Brandy and I raced across country from Castle Mill to the Clapham gymkhana to compete.  All was well till he spotted his pasture buddy competing in the show jumping class and made a fool of himself by whinnying very loudly to say hello.
 photo 4664d8f6-c4a3-46ed-8f01-561f12776658_zps9d91b8f0.jpg

The Bedford Rowing Club.  It was outside here I gave some Indian boys a ride on Brandy.  They were so impressed.  I often would stop and offer children rides on him.
 photo 0e05c9c9-1c55-4af4-a668-e72486b97512_zps3210cfa4.jpg

The swans are pretty tame because they know they are BAD.  The brownish one on the front is one of the years cygnets.
 photo e79b7e8a-f789-4e64-a63a-98df2d1bc0d1_zps1210ab2e.jpg

In the background is what is left of Bedford castle, which was built about 1000 years ago.    photo e9a02f7b-a708-4deb-86a3-64e5cc0f699e_zps605efae5.jpg

Fortified with treacle toffees, I climbed to the top of Castle mound.  That actually is the bus I should have been on.   The number 5.  In the foreground is a tile mosaic, describing the history of the castle.  photo 0531eb71-167a-46da-a428-6a406f49eedb_zpsa9fff964.jpg

There's an interesting story of the castle at the top.  Some yobbo's scratched it all up.
 photo 30a1a022-a409-4544-b823-c09f2482e5fb_zpsdb2b6a32.jpg

Looking back at this while the sarc has me in its grip, I'm amazed I could walk about like I did.