A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘animals’

A New Addition

After our Boston Terrier Charlie died in July, Lee and I missed him so much. The house wasn’t the same without that little clown around. We agreed that we needed to find another pup to fill our home and hearts. It didn’t take long to find a few Bosties fairly close to us. We chose Frankie.
Frankie is a fawn colored Boston Terrier. He’s beautiful. He has dark lining around his eyes, and he looks like he’s smiling. His ears are magnificent, and he may or may not grow into them.
We’re still learning about his personality, and I think it’s evolving. He’s a snuggler, a little shy and nervous in new situations. He’s stubborn and sassy and challenging. House breaking is mostly done. He has had the occasional accident, but they’re getting rare.
I had forgotten how time consuming puppies can be!
Our memories of Charlie will always be with us. We talk about him so often. Frankie isn’t a replacement. He’s an addition to our family.frankie 8-21-14 Frankie 9-27-2 Frankie2 8-24-14

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May and June Catch-Up

blossoming treeIt’s been a crazy spring.  Cold and wet.  We’re closing in on the middle of June, and  the fields are not fully planted yet.  Lee has been planting as the fields dry out, but he still has to plant around the wet spots.  It’s raining again today so no planting for a few days.  We just haven’t been getting enough time between the rains to let the ground dry off.  We just have to be patient and wait and see how it all works out.  Lee’s definitely feeling the pressure.

The good news is that the rains have brought lush growth to the pastures.  Too lush for the minis, but the sheep are benefiting from all the lovely grass.  Of course we went from seldom  mowing the dry, brown grass last summer to frequent mowing this spring.

It’s been fun watching my bird feeders this spring.  So many colorful birds.  I had two indigo buntings coming to the feeders for a few days.  They must have been just passing through because I haven’t been seeing them lately.  I saw at least half a dozen orioles in a tree just in front of the house.   It was before the tree had fully leafed out so it was a gorgeous riot of color in the tree.  The orioles have been using the nectar feeder I set up for them.  Lee’s favorite birds are the cardinals and he also likes blue jays.  I think because he can easily identify them.  We’ve had lots of turkeys, our sandhill couple is back to nest here again, and we’ve been seeing deer come out of the woods every day.  We can sit at the kitchen table and enjoy seeing the wildlife while we eat a meal.

charlie collarCharlie has a new collar, which has a QR Code tag.  It can be read by any smart phone that has a QR Code reader app.  It also will send you to a website if you don’t have a reader.  On the website is Charlie’s ID page, which has contact information and health history.  It was very inexpensive.  The collar with tag was $10.99, I think, and you can get just a tag for less.   Just go to FurCode.com, or they also have a Facebook page.

Charlie is 10 years old now and he’s begun to have some health problems as he ages.  Recently he injured his back, but healed quickly, thank goodness.

We are going to Oklahoma in July, and we’ll have to board Charlie at a kennel.  He’s only been boarded a couple of times and the last time was a bad experience so I’m  nervous about doing it again.  We’ll be taking him to a different kennel this time and I got references from the vet, so I’m really hoping it will be okay.

The family are all doing well.  We’re so excited to be going to OKC for Leah and Craig’s wedding.  It’s turning out to be a wonderful family reunion too.  I just can’t wait to see everyone, and this will be the first time in years that I’ll be together with all 3 of my kids at once.  It’s going to be fun to have Lee coming along.  It’s so hard to get him to leave the farm.

Here are fairly recent pictures of Carys (at her archery lesson), Payten at 3 years old, and Noah.

Carys archeryPaytenNoah

Not Made in China

everythingdogtreats-com

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think that all pet owners are pretty fed up with the China Connection as it relates to dog food and treats.  When I’m looking for treats for Charlie I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading the labels.  I’ve found a couple that I feel are safe to give him, but  I could probably make treats for him in the same amount of time I spend  reading labels and researching recall lists.
Here are some treat recipes you might like to try.  I’m also giving you horse treat recipes, just because I love my minis and they do get  treats sometimes as well.  They love bran muffins!

ROVER’S REWARDS
3/4 cup hot water or meat broth/stock
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 egg, beaten
3 cups whole wheat flour
Pour the hot water/broth over the margarine and mix to melt it.  Stir in the powdered milk and egg.  Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes, adding more flour as needed, to make a very stiff dough.  Roll to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out with cookie cutters or cut into rectangles sized for your dog.  Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 325 for 50 minutes/  Cool and let dry until hard.  Yields about 1/4 pound of treats.
PUMPKIN AND PEANUT BUTTER DOG TREATS
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions:
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.     Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
3.     Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.
Makes about 25 treats.
HORSE TREATS
PARTY CONES
Wafer ice cream cones
Mix together:
1 shredded apple
1 shredded carrot
1/4 cup horse feed (pellets or whatever you feed)
1 1/2 cups bran
Enough molasses to hold it all together.
Stuff the mixture into the cones.
Or, you can stuff it into cored apples.  These treats are sized for full size horses.  For minis, they only need about 1/4 of a treat.  They’ll tell you they want more, but don’t listen.
You can also modify the dog biscuit recipes for horses.  Experiment!

Where Are They Now?

Photo credit Debi Plekan

Photo credit Debi Plekan

I’ve recently read an article that mentioned the American Quarter Horse Association‘s Full Circle Program.    I’m not sure how it works, but I think it’s supposed to help track previously owned horses, thus possibly preventing the throwing away of unwanted horses.  It’s a great idea and I would love to read that other breed associations are also providing this service.  One very compelling reason for me to stop breeding and selling miniature horses was that I hated losing control over their welfare.  No matter how carefully prospective buyers are screened,  stuff happens.  Every person who bought a horse from me was told that I would appreciate the right of first refusal if they ever needed to sell the horse.  I even put it into sales contracts, but it’s not enforceable.   I can remember 2 buyers who actually did let me know that they were selling their minis, and although I wasn’t in a position to buy them back, I was able to help find good homes for them.   Every horse that was sold from this farm was registered, but I can guarantee that if I look for them via the registry’s stud books, I won’t be able to find most of them.   I often wonder about the babies that were born here, and what kind of lives they’ve had.  Why don’t people keep them registered?  Isn’t it their birthright?  Don’t they deserve to  have the chain of ownership recorded?   I believe they do deserve to have their registration, papers, and heritage stay with them forever.  I can’t single handedly make that happen, so I just don’t contribute any more.

Cody, a Miniature Horse

About 10 years ago Lee and I decided that it was time to downsize our miniature horse activities.  We stopped breeding and showing them, and sold  most of our best horses.  The ones we kept were minis who had special needs.  It’s hard to imagine anyone else giving the kind of care we give to these needy ones.  Of course that’s an arrogant way of thinking and I know that really there are many people in this world who would do a good job with them.  What I ended up with was a small  group of miniature horses with health problems, so I knew that I would be dealing with lots of nursing care and special diets with supplements,and extra vet and farrier visits.  I also knew that my little herd would dwindle.  In the 10 years since we dispersed the main herd, we’ve euthanised 3 of the chronically ill minis, and now this week makes it 4.
Cody was born here.  At the age of 17 he dies here.  He had a chronic, we think genetic, condition involving his trachea.  His dam had the same problem. He also had chronic bouts of laminitis, although not since last winter.  Recently I became aware that he was having other, very serious problems.As he got worse I struggled with making the decision to euthanise him.  This week I realized we couldn’t make him better, he continued to go downhill,and I couldn’t bear to think he might be suffering.  Although we don’t know exactly what was going on with him (we didn’t do a necropsy) we do know that he had something bad.  At the end his blood pressure was sky high, his abdomen was bloated and full of fluid, he was dripping in sweat in the mornings in the last few days.  The vet guesses heart or liver, maybe both.  The last thing I did before the vet got here was to take Cody in the grass so he could graze for the first time in years.  Grass is a no-no for laminitic horses.  He loved it.  He never lost his appetite.
He was my little trick pony who answered questions with a nod or a shake of his head, and gave kisses whenever he was asked for them. He loved kids and they loved him.

Thanks so much Dr. Anne Clary for your compassionate care of my minis for all these years.
Please enjoy this slideshow of pictures of Cody, from his birth, through his show career, to his most recent pictures at the age of 17.  Cody was loved by many and he will be missed so much, especially by me.

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Farm and Family Newsletter May 2012

I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends who are scattered all over the world.  My intention was to write about the farm and our family, keeping everyone up to date on everyone else.  We all know what can happen to good intentions.  Somehow I’ve become scattered and eclectic, writing about whatever pops into my head, and throwing in a bunch of recipes to boot.  I don’t think that’s going to change because my thoughts and my focus tend to bounce around.  I do think that I should make some kind of commitment to the original premise so I’m going to try to write a monthly newsletter that will stick to actual family and farm news.  Good luck with that, right?

So here we go!

Lambing this year was busy!  We had 18 pregnant ewes and all but one of them has delivered.  There were several sets of triplets and we have 32 lambs.  The lone hold out ewe will probably have a single lamb any day now.

There are 2 lambs being supplemented by bottle, and they’re doing well.  They will stay with their moms and just get a bit of extra help from us.

All of the ewes did well, but we did lose 2 lambs.  One was stillborn (a triplet) and one was deformed and dead in the womb as well.

It’s no secret that the weather has been crazy and unpredictable this year.  We had hot weather in March and then in April it cooled back down.  Now in May we’re getting a lot of rain.   Lee was able to get his wheat fertilized early and he did some digging, but it’s now too wet to do any more.  Some farmers in our area planted corn in April.  That’s very unusual.  The strange weather has caused serious problems for agriculture here.  Specifically, the fruit trees blossomed and then the blossoms froze so apples and cherries in particular will be scarce.  Maple sap ran so early that the taps weren’t in place yet and so there won’t be much maple syrup made in Wisconsin.

My horse pasture greened up very early and I was able to get Star, Irish, and Artie out on the grass in March.  Unfortunately, even though I was careful to let them graze for short periods, Irish has foundered and his grazing days are now over.  He’s doing well now.  He was sore footed for  a few days but is feeling much better now.  Cody never gets to eat grass because he has chronic laminitis (founder) and will get sore on the tiniest bit of grass.  I’m down to 2 horses that can graze the pastures for a few hours each day.  I see lots of mowing in our future.

The early spring brought many of the migratory birds back early.  Specifically the killdeers and barn swallows and robins were here in April.  Sandhill cranes were back a bit early too.  Just in the last few days we’ve been seeing orioles, and Lee thinks there was a hummingbird buzzing around him when he was installing our new bird feeder (made by cousin Ron, and it’s a very nice feeder!).  I haven’t seen a hummer yet.  I’ve been keeping the nectar feeders filled for both the hummers and the orioles.

Lee and our brother-in-law Mick put a new roof on our house a couple of weeks ago.  We’re so happy to have it done, and I’m especially happy to have the hammering on  the roof finished.  Project #2 is the remodeling of our guest bathroom.  It has been gutted and Lee installed a new shower.  No more tub in that bathroom.  The shower takes up the same space that the tub did, so it’s nice sized.  Everything in the room will be replaced so it will look completely different.  It’s been a challenge because it’s a tiny bathroom.

Another remodeling/repair project will be new steel siding on the barn.  It’s on the contractor’s to-do list but it may be a while until he gets at it.  Lee and I had a discussion about color and he was leaning toward  grey, while I think that  a proper barn should be red.  Red it is.

In family related news….Aubrey, Josh, and Carys, and Josh’s mom Sally, are in Hawaii on vacation.  They’re having a wonderful time and posting pictures to Facebook  daily.  It’s fun to see what they’re doing there, and I have to say they all seem so very  happy!

 

 

 

Shirley and I will be leaving on Mother’s Day for Las Vegas.  What a great Mom’s Day present!  We’ll be there for 5 nights, staying at the Monte Carlo again.  It’s become our favorite hotel in LV, mostly due to its location and ease of getting around.

We’re looking forward to seeing Alora soon.  She’s going to be coming back to the US from Scotland and we’ve missed her and can’t wait to see her.

That’s all for this May update.  Wish me luck in Vegas!

 

Happy Birthday Charlie

Charlie has a birthday this month, his 9th.  I haven’t written about him lately, so here’s a little update and some recent pictures.
Charlie continues to be incredibly quirky and a little bit crazy.  He’s a Boston Terrier, and that’s how they roll.
One of his quirks is his obsession with making a nest of my clothing and other items he finds.  He only does it when I’m not in the house and it can be pretty funny to see his pile and the treasures he’s amassed.  One of his favorite items is an orange fleece jacket and it’s a recurring theme in his nest.  He especially loves soft and fluffy fabrics. He finds things hanging on hooks, and his technique for snagging them is a jump and grab sort of motion.  He takes things out of the hamper.  He takes shoes and slippers.  He never chews on anything.  He just wants to possess them.  Usually his lime green snaky is a part of the pile.  I’m really impressed with Charlie’s ability to hold a piece of clothing in his mouth and jump with it onto our very high bed.  He sometimes makes his nest on the sofa and will drag things from the bedroom into the living room.
Here are some pictures of Charlie’s nesting.  There’s also a picture of him praying for food to fall from the table and into his mouth.  Some people would call this begging but I prefer to call it praying.

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