Uh….Oh….

Look what we have here!!

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Meet the newest members to the ranch.  I don’t know what it is when someone says “hey Tina, we are getting a few more chickens, want any?”  Something happens before my brain even thinks and it says yes, yes, you need those chickens.  And this is what you get!!

These cuties are Pablo (the little black one), Sid (the yellow one) and Road Runner (the big one in back).  The kids named them before we even had them out of the box.

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The two little ones are bantam chickens (small chickens in size) and the larger one will be a medium sized hen.  Hopefully they are all egg layers and earn their keep!!

Either way, they are adorable and hopefully our chickens will welcome them shortly and show them the ropes around the ranch!!

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Old Horsewoman

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When I Am An Old Horsewoman
I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to ALL
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.

-Author Patty Barnhart

A Dog’s Love

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Our Riley….

Change is inevitable.  While I am a person who thrives on change, this type of change hurts and brings with it the fear of the unknown and dread.

The past few days the matriarch of our family is starting to show signs that he is not going to be with us forever.  He is 14 1/2 and we have had him since he was about 9 weeks old.  Our children know no other life than that with their dog Riley.  Riley has been the most wonderful farm dog you could ask for.  He is a faithful companion, loving friend and fixture in every aspect of our lives.

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Riley showing the new puppy the ropes around the farm

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Meeting the newest member of our family in 2012

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Warming his bones while waiting for Santa

It’s hard to explain what a dog brings to your life especially one that was perfect from the start and never brought anything but joy and companionship.

I am hoping he perks up and things settle down in his tummy over the next few days but reality is staring me down and I need to be strong for my children.  And while I know it’s the circle of life, I am not ready for the 2 ends of that circle to meet.  I can only hope for a little more time.

 

 

It’s an “Egg”stravaganza

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Oh the fun my kids get to have when it comes to coloring eggs for Easter.  We have ducks, bantam chickens and regular hens.  Our egg collection is vast with light brown eggs, white eggs and even light blue duck eggs.  It’s such a fun hobby for the kids to collect those eggs everyday.  It is even more fun during Easter as they can decorate the small eggs, large eggs, and extra large duck eggs.

Yesterday they collected their eggs and last night they had the joy of coloring some.  I thought I would share some pictures of the farm and where our eggs come from!!

These are our mallards.  I try to get a few every year as the kids enjoy raising them until they are old enough to fly off.  The whole neighborhood celebrates as the ducks take their first flights around the yard, then circling above the houses making larger circles every time and eventually flying off.  In the spring a we will head back to our ice skating pond and there some of our previous ducks will be enjoying their old stomping grounds.  These will probably not fly off for another few weeks so the kids are enjoying them while they can.

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I’m sexy and I know it

These are our larger hens with our only rooster “Flash” who is a bantam size.  He was born and raised with us and thinks he is a dog!! He loves to sit on our feeder looking in the back window.

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And our banties

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Here are the eggs collected, cleaned and colored

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If these animals could talk…

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My barn is my refuge.  If you are not an animal lover, you may not understand this.  It’s almost like an addiction…in sad times I need my barn, in hard times I need my barn, when I am happiest I can’t wait to get into my barn, when I need to grieve I need my barn.  My horses know more about me than any human.  I’ve told them everything.  I’ve cried while brushing them sharing my grief, I’ve felt their warm breath on my neck while comforting me, I’ve listened to their soft nickers in understanding of my pain.  In joyful times I’ve watched them twitch their ears listening to my rambling while I am cleaning a stall.  Their eyes wide in anticipation of what I am sharing.  When they see me heading back to the barn, they come up from the pasture to greet me.  They love to explore with me riding the trails and enjoying nature.  All the while me talking to them about the leaves, the over full creek, the wild turkey running and so on.  We have a connection.

Tonight while brushing them with the moon brightly overhead, the Buffalo Sabres game on the radio, and the munching sounds of them eating hay, I was reminded again of what a blessing they are to me.  They fill a spot in my heart. I was born in the Chinese year of the Horse.  Maybe that is my need for a horse.

I have had a horse (or 3) in my life for 37 years this month.  I came from a family with not much money growing up and the only thing I begged for was a horse.  At age 10 my parents realized there was no getting around it and bought me my first horse and my dad built a pole barn and put up a small pasture.  I had to take full responsibility and I truly believe that is how I became the self sufficient person I am today.  I did not have money for amusement parks, the mall or movies but I did not care.  I had the best friend/companion in my horse.  He was a crazy thing but I was invincible so that did not matter.  I had him for 19 years until his last breath.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and what we shared.

I have 3 horses now.  I have learned the training methods used by Native Americans so these horses are not wild like my first horse as I know now I am not invincible.  We have a stronger connection because of the training relationship we have and they are a huge part of our family.  Each one of them  came into my life a different way but the connection was made the minute our eyes met.

Tonight was a peaceful night of reflection in the barn.  My only hope while closing the barn up for the night was for my children to experience and feel what I have all these years.

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