Monday, February 25, 2019

New Duckies! Yak Connection!

Through wind and snow and a couple of pretty serious snow drifts, I journeyed to find my treasure.

I shall call this adorable young lady Betty.

These guys, I'm not sure if their names matter, because they might be Brunch and Dinner, but for now they are Billy Idol and Fonzie.  They're HUGE!  I'd guess 12 pounds.  Just comparing how they feel to the weight of all the fat cats I weigh at work.

These guys are cute little peeps.  They're pretty skeptical about people.  I think Winston Really, REally, wanted to eat their food.  Maybe he wanted to eat them.  They are a little like mice.  But he's a good boy and I don't think he'd eat what he knows are "my babies."

He was totally riveted for a long while.



So far so good with everyone together.  Zorro did try to boss the drakes when I gave everyone peas.  One of the boys hissed at her and briefly grabbed her wing.  I would be seriously sad if Zorro was seriously hurt.  I'm going to keep a close eye on the situation.

Look at my little photo-bomber, lower left. :)

Isn't she just the most beautiful duck?

I love the raised crests on the Muscovy ducks.  They're so expressive, even though they're really slow and mellow.  And they look like punks.  And dinosaurs.

It's like an 80's movie, the pretty girls in their clique, and the leather jackets in their tough-looking group, but really everyone just wants to be loved. (or in this case, eat peas)

:) :) :)

OH!  I almost forgot to mention.  As we were standing in the cold, nasty wind, with heavy snow coming down, talking about what breeds of sheep she had, her donkey and geese protectors, and her goats, she just off-hand said, "Too bad the weather is so bad or I'd show you my yak."  WHATT??  Yak, plural!  She has a herd!  I am totally going back out to meet them when the weather stops acting like an angry teenager.  She's super nice and she'll talk your ear off, telling you all the attributes about which breeds of sheep she has (some breeds are milder flavor), and I already learned some new things about yak.  They are more susceptible to some diseases, such as bluetongue, than cattle, who can carry it but rarely show symptoms.  Good to know!  Anyway, serendipity!  Life is interesting.

Last night, in a lower moment, I decided not to get bottle baby dairy calves right now (a thing we were seriously discussing yesterday).  My damn health isn't predictable enough.  I couldn't feed the critters last night and I know John doesn't want the responsibility of bottle feeding.  (I could have if I absolutely had to, but it would have been awful.)  Things will get better when the snow is gone, then maybe I'll revisit that idea.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Roll Call

First I have to share with you our unfortunate little visitor.  She fell in the water trough and Liam saved her.  Lucky little bird.
She sat in my coat shivering for a while, then sat nice and quietly, and eventually she was ready to go!  Unfortunately at that point she was still really wet and it was getting colder by the minute, so I made her stay in a box for a bit before I let her fly away.
I'm not sure why people hate starlings so much.  Maybe because they eat so much. These guys have been eating all my duck food.  But they're hungry...  So I guess I can't blame them.  What else are they going to find in all this snow!  Once it gets a little warmer I'm hoping they'll go away.

I took this picture on the morning of a gorgeous sunrise, all in pastels, the sun coming up into a fog bank with the blue sky above. It just looks bleak to me here.  Don't mind my apple branches that have been laying there for months.  They will probably go to the burn pile eventually.

Juniper, wanting something.  Food of course, but I can't remember if I had treats or if she was just hoping I did.  She got her hind feet trimmed that day, so I probably had treats.  She has gotten so much better about hoof handling.  I just wish she'd like my farrier.

Halla, wanting alfalfa from Sawyer's stall.  He pretty much doesn't eat the stems.  It's a mess.  I wish I had a horse to give it all to.  Nobody here really should be eating it.  It will make good garden mulch or compost.

Sawyer, wondering why I made him pretty.  (Actually he's just chewing his food.) I put detangler on his mane and brushed it out.  Not much work, on him, but it was something to do.  I also touched up his hooves since the farrier can't get down my driveway.

Scout wanting food.  I'm beginning to see a trend here.  Bella wants food too, of course, but she doesn't get so silly near the electric fence.

Such impatience.  I can't give them their food until I've gathered up their feed tubs.  Which of course they always rearrange and sometimes lose in the snow.

Huckleberry is still in love with that moose leg he brought home a couple months ago.

He's so proud of it.

Winston loves it too, but he doesn't get a turn very often.

So that was my day of trying to get outside and feel better about life.  I ended up almost getting frostbite in my toes.  They still hurt.  So I cut some sheepskin insoles for my rubber boots.  They're pretty nice!  But next time I think I better wear real boots and go inside when my toes start to hurt!

Today I have no plans.  Sundays are so unstructured.  I'm about to sit and make a to-do list, because there is plenty to do, I just end up forgetting about it all.  And I'm really hoping someone gets back to me about some Muscovy ducks they're selling.  Hopefully next time I'll have some new friends to share!  But don't get too attached, they will be meat birds.  We'll love them and treat them like family while they're here though.  I think all animals should have a good life, and that's why I'm looking at raising our own meats.  

The yak thing is on hold for now...  I'm just not sure about this seller, for one.  I want to go visit his place.  And the plan to buy a butcher steer right now kinda went lopsided when it turned out he didn't have a butcher up there.  I don't really want to haul the poor thing 2+ hours down here all by himself and then butcher him.  That's a lot of stress.  But better than some alternatives.  It's all moot, I can't get my trailer out for probably another month.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Oh How I Hate Snow!

Here I was thinking I'd gotten over my loathing of winter, but it turns out it's snow I hate.  It's here, and it's horrible.  So hard to get chores done.  Not to mention not being able to get the truck out.  At least my lovely little car can handle the driveway so far.

Solitude, that's another bummer.  My sister has always been the only person I talk to daily, and she's not around anymore, calling me all the time with weird stories or to complain about the weather or plan summer adventures.  Or talk about horses. Hah, that's most of what we did!

Do you have any big adventures, or little adventures planned this year?  I'm not sure what we're going to do.  Not much holding me back, other than my horse and my energy, and I can work with/around those.  But I need some ideas!

I'd like to go to Escure Ranch in the early spring and do a weekend, maybe long weekend camping trip.  Beautiful there when it's green.  But the ticks!

Boy, how I wish Tonka was still here.

Later in the year we'll probably do a weekend at Heyburn, they have such a nice camping area with corrals.

I've never been to Farragut.  Well, not since my daughter was a baby.  And never with horses.  I'd like to check that out.  And Riverside up in Spokane, now that they have horse camping...  I haven't ridden there since we had our Mustang Club rides years ago.

I would love to go on a week-long trip down on the Snake River in Hell's Canyon, but I don't like the idea of just taking off in a new place I don't know.  My sister's friend offered to take us.  I might have to take her up on that.  She's a sweetheart.

For my sister's birthday in July we'll probably camp out at her favorite spot, where Tonka had his accident and then died.  Which is hard for me, now for more reason than one...  But it is beautiful out there.  Sometimes you hear wolves and elk calling.  Maybe no elk in July.  But wildflowers galore.

Today it's snowing hard again.  I've had to cancel my farrier 2 weeks in a row because of my driveway, so I'm going to trim Sawyer's hooves.  Might work on the wee donkey as well, if I feel up to it.  Then maybe I'll rearrange the barn.  I need to do something other than sit in the house.  I'm getting seriously depressed.  We're overstaffed and slow at work so I only worked one day last week - I'm just about to go crazy.  I'd love it if the weather was good - I'd be outside constantly.  But this being stuck in the house stuff is dumb.

Seriously, tell me about your fun plans for the year, or even just things you'd like to do, even if you aren't going to do it.  Or blog about it and send me the link.  I'm needing a pick-me-up.  And maybe you are too?  Just writing about it here made me feel a bit better.

Now, kind of a dumb aside - I'm digging this new vertical mouse.  Maybe you all know about them, but I was looking for a trackball mouse because I thought that was the good ergonomic mouse, and I stumbled on this vertical mouse.  I'm using it for the first time today and it's the bomb-diggity.  I want to get one for work now.  (I have no idea what those 2 buttons above the thumb are for, you click like a normal mouse.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

More Blather

So the sleep doctor thinks I have narcolepsy. How weird is that?!?! I knew that it wasn't always the sudden dropping off to sleep that the TV would have us think, and I had even considered it as a possibility, but dismissed it. Nah, not me. But he seems pretty convinced. I can't do the sleep studies they need until May because they're all booked up. Unless they get an cancellation.

On one hand I wish I'd known 20 or 30 years ago, and on the other hand, what good would it have done? I'm not sure I'll tolerate the drugs well, and I might have used it as an excuse to do and be less... But what if the drugs are fine, and I could have been awake all this time??? Ah well. Life, you know? It is what it is.

I never would have thought I needed a sleep study. I sleep just fine! Really, it's my super power. If only my doctor had listened a little better when I told him how tired I was. We tested other things. It's not like we weren't looking, we just didn't pursue and he didn't ask more questions. It got worse after the car accident and I just couldn't ignore it anymore.


Monday, February 11, 2019

Whole Food

Since my head injury/migraines and even more so while my sister was sick, especially toward the end, I haven't cared about food.  I'd just eat whatever was handy and easy.  I wasn't cooking, and my poor kid was eating a lot of Hot Pockets (not that he minded).  I even got to where I was eating fast food, which I really hadn't done much in years and years.  I tried to choose somewhat healthy crap food, but it was still crap food.  I was back up to my highest weight ever, and weaker than ever because I'd been babying my injuries.

I was ready to make a change, and my fall from my horse was a good catalyst.  Then I got some more inspiration from my Blogger buddy from Health and Life at the Rough String, and off I went.  I'm not going to endorse a certain method or diet or anything, but I'm going to say eating real, whole foods is worth it!  I even cook breakfast every day (and manage to get out the door for work on time).  I have been a die-hard cereal eater for life, anything else for breakfast - just the idea made me nauseous.  Today I had cod and kale.  I'm not eating sugar, grains or milk products, and no soy or legumes, but I am eating lots of meat, veggies, some fruit, nuts and lots of healthy fats - basically paleo/keto.  No weight loss yet but I think my dimensions are changing slightly.  Maybe I'm building muscle without trying.  Certainly chores have been a little harder lately. :)

It's helped the whole family eat better.  Liam has been enjoying the foods of my labors too, and his mood has improved.  He doesn't complain much that there isn't a ton of junk food in the house (I do cook him some noodles or potatoes sometimes) and he gets creative and makes himself a smoothie for dessert now that we're using the Nutri-bullet more often.  John has chosen a healthier diet too, but not the same as mine.  We don't eat together often during the week, and even on the weekends we generally do separate breakfast and lunch, so this works just fine.

My energy levels really boosted the first week or two (the weather was better too) and now they're pretty blah again...  I'm going to fine tune my diet more with a nutritionist.  I'm also going to see a sleep doctor next week.  I'm not sure if I have some sort of chronic fatigue or if it might be narcolepsy or what...  It'll be interesting to see what they say.  I still haven't been told what the results of my home sleep study were, except that I needed a referral to a sleep doctor and another couple sleep studies.  I know I don't have sleep apnea.

I dug out the laptop from the spare room, and I'm loving blogging on a keyboard rather than my phone!  I missed real typing.  This could be a gamechanger for me.  :)  Now, if only I could charge and print wirelessly. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fowl Winter

As it has in so many other places, winter has decided to grace us with its presence.  A couple days before the big freeze and bad weather, I took in these 3 hens, which had been running loose fending for themselves.  They were so hungry.  I wonder if they would have made it if they hadn't had food and shelter once it got cold.

My mom gave me this teeny coop just a couple days before I brought the hens home.  I actually wasn't planning on keeping it, it's so small, but it turned out it came in handy. They'll only have to live here until I can integrate them in with the ducks and move their tiny coop into the duck enclosure.  I didn't have help when they got here, and now it's frozen to the ground. For now it's keeping them plenty warm and they seem happy.

The ducks didn't know what to think of them at first.  It was pretty cute.

They've already given us four eggs, despite the cold and dark weather and their recent stress. Good girls!  Unlike the ducks, who have been taking an extended vacation. 

This one below is Rose.  I think the other two are Cotton (I forget why) and Delilah.  I left the naming up to the menfolk.  I had a little hand in it, or they might have been Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

Below are my beautiful quackers, enjoying some sun during a break in the snow.  Shadow, Sybell, and Zorro, from left to right.  Sybell has pretty white eyeliner, if you look closely.  Zorro has a white feather on her shoulder now.  I don't know why.  They've all changed a bit over time.

Sybell, Shadow, and Zorro.  Ducks are so loud!  I didn't really realize just how much louder they are than chickens until these nice quiet hens came.

Well Hello!  No, I didn't have any treats.  Darn.

I love their snow beaks.  Shadow, in the back below, is the most timid, and she bobs her head a lot when approached. Like bowing or curtsying politely.  I don't know what it means...  I bet someone studies duck-speak and could tell us. 

Today we had snow, snow, and more snow, and it's much colder.  Huckleberry loves it!  He keeps asking to go outside and then coming back in covered in snow.

The horses don't seem to mind too much.  I'm sure they'd prefer the cold without the precip.

I like how Scout and Bella are so often parallel in posture.  And they share nicely.  I don't have to worry about spacing hay.
I've let all horse work go for a bit.  The weather is just too yucky.  If I have to wear ski gloves and still my fingers are hurting from the cold, it's just too cold.

I hope everyone is weathering their weather well.  At least we know it isn't forever!