If you would have asked me several years ago would I see myself as being the owner of four dogs (two small inside and two big outside), I would have laughed telling you absolutely not.
When we first decided to buy property and build our little ranch, I took to social media in search of learning and observing everything I could. I would see women out in the barnyard wearing sweats and mucking boots. I’m not going to do that, I told myself. Then the other night when it was raining, our stallion Legacy didn’t want our mare Little America in the stall. Seeing that as I looked out the upstairs window of our bedroom, I’ll be darned if I didn’t put on sweats and mucking boots and go out to open the other stall so they can go out of whichever run in stall they want, allowing Little America to get out of the rain.
When we got the chickens I thought I’m not going to talk to chickens because people will think I’m crazy. But I have twelve little hens and a husband who will tell you flat out that I have routine conversations with them. They may not understand what I’m saying, but they really do acknowledge that I am talking with them.
When we got the miniature horses, I knew I would love and kiss on them as much as they would let me. The stallion (who in two weeks will be a gelding) is hesitant to allow full on affection, but allows me to pet him until he decides he’s had enough. My mare on the other hand will take all the kissing, hugging, and petting she can get. What I learned however, from that, is NEVER put chapstick on right before you kiss a horse. As I pulled away from her, I brought with me a lot of horse hair stuck to my lips.
For all the things I said I would never do, I stand corrected. I’m learning a lot, doing things I said I never would, and discovering things never to do again. Yep, it’s all fun and games until someone gets a lip full of horse hair.
Being a little cooler this weekend, I wanted to get Hank and Houston little coats when it’s cold. Houston, the smaller of the two, was content sitting inside my coat and wastes no time going to sleep, given the opportunity. Outside my coat, he is also content wearing his coat. He found himself a nice area out of the wind, and snuggled in for a nap.
Hank on the other hand doesn’t miss a milk meal, so he’s noticeably bigger than Houston. With his little coat on, he strutted through the goat yard like a turkey! He was proud and made sure to walk around to all the other little goats showing off his new outfit.
I also got them a break away collar that has a tiny bell on it (which is actually a cat collar). Now we can hear them when we’re looking amongst 50 babies running around. We made good choices for our picks of which ones we wanted. Still a ways to go but it’s nice to be able to come see them when we want.
I laughed at myself this morning as I did the chores. I get ready for work and then back out to the barn to do the chores, then leave from there. I wear my barn jacket over the jacket I wear to work. I get everything done, and then take off the barn jacket. I also have to wipe down my boots so I look presentable when I get there. A few times I’ve forgotten to do it beforehand, so I immediately get a rag and clean them off.
I bought a large fish net so I can clean out grass that blows in to the water tank. I keep it as clean as I can so they have nice water constantly but we get so much wind that this was my resolution. People may laugh at me that I do that but it works and it’s effective. We can’t afford to get those automatic watering systems, so this is a great alternative.
I love the whinny sounds my mare makes when I step out to feed them. She’s quite the talker, my Little America is. Legacy, the stallion, stands right at the gate ready to eat his morning meal as I walk through. They’ve really settled in to our home and I couldn’t be more pleased with them.
Well, we did it. We got to go and pick out our new miniature fainting goats. At only four days old, they were perfectly content being loved on and cuddled. I picked them up and they cozied right in and feeling perfectly safe, fell asleep in my arms. I did not want to put either one down.
They won’t actually come home until they are about eight weeks old. But the farm isn’t that far from us so I’ll go a couple times a week to bond with them until it’s time. I bought break away collars for them to put on them this weekend to more easily identify ours compared to the other almost fifty other little goats that are running around. I can see how owning them can be completely addicting.
The original intent was to get a male and female. My husband wanted a male to name after his brother, Hank, and found him pretty quickly. I had seen on Facebook a tri-colored one and was in love. The owner chose to keep the female, so to have a tri-color, I went with a male. The one I chose had more dark tones that light and was very cuddly from the start. His name is now Houston.
The miniature donkeys will wait for now. With this being the first year on our little mini S ranch, and now having 4 dogs, 12 chickens, 2 miniature horses with one on the way, and now 2 miniature fainting goats, I think that’s a pretty good start.
I couldn’t resist the sign. It helps add to the fun of the place.
Planting the garden starts the end of next month and it’s going to be pretty crazy the first year getting not only the typical annual produce, but also putting in the fruit orchard. It will have apples, peaches, cherries, blueberries, and raspberries.
No matter the weather and no matter the chore, I’m at peace on our little ranch.
My Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds are doing amazing. They are growing like crazy. We had to lift up the brooder light because they’re getting taller. The warmth from the light is still needed because they haven’t completely feathered out yet. They’re close though – within a couple weeks they’ll be out from the brooder box and able to get around great without it.
I took out a lot of the old pine shavings and put in a fresh batch. Oh the chatter that began! They were chattering back and forth to each other like crazy. Their little feet were scratching and kicking up the shavings all over the place having a good ole time.
It’s amazing how literally on a day to day basis you can see physical changes in them. One morning I came out to notice that their little fur body and fur head had grown a neck in between. Their heads are starting to show the comb now, but just a little. When I come in to the coop where the brooder box is set up, they all look at me and start making noise. That is probably because they know they will get more food and fresh water. This weekend I’m introducing them to the dried mealworms so they’ll be in for a real treat (although it is just that – a treat)! I’ll also be getting a feeder pan and putting in some nutritional foods to pick at. I want them to get used to being in the grass and pecking at the ground too. With the warmer weather coming, that will make it easier to do. I want to keep my chickens happy!
While doing morning chores, and finally a little sunshine and spring-like warmth, I stood at the edge of the barnyard and admired how far we’ve come in only a few months. The mini horses are happy, having adequate food, water, shelter, and an over abundance of love. My miniature fainting goats should be born any day now, at which point will put me on an 8-week count down. The miniature donkeys won’t come home until the October/November time frame. It’s a happy feeling doing what I do these days.
The dozen little chicks (8 Leghorns and 4 Rhode Island Red) are equally doing well. I went into the coop where their brooding box is the other morning to find that the little fur balls with round heads had overnight grown necks! Amazing how you can literally notice a difference from day to day. I’ve never done any wing clipping to keep them from flying too high, so I’ll have to work on getting up to speed on that point once it’s time.
I currently let the horses out into the east pasture each afternoon for a while and they wonder around content in the open. The east pasture has all new fencing. The west pasture is now the focus of attention in that regard. Then I can rotate the animals back and forth. I’ll have to lead them over to that area but it gives me a chance to work with them a little in the process.
Neither one of them had been groomed in I don’t know how long. Maintaining is one thing, but I really have no experience in thinning a mane, clipping, etc. Oh sure, I can brush them down and help get them looking a lot nicer once they start shedding their heavy coats. The mane and tail are a whole other level. I’d like to find a horse groomer who can get them where they need to be to look even more beautiful than I think they already are. This part, like so many other parts, is a learning curve for me.
Spring quickly approaches and this morning’s sunshine made me smile knowing that it’s just around the corner.
The vet arrived yesterday and hooked up the ultrasound machine. She put the wand up to Little America’s belly and low and behold a little baby was moving around with a strong little heart beat! I was hoping for a cute little horse body to admire or at least the head but all I could really make out was the ribs and the heart beat. But knowing that the baby appears healthy and strong enough (and moves quite often), I am satisfied. She was able to determine that the baby will be due about the June or July time frame. It’s not very exact so I’ll have to watch for all the signs that time is almost near. I’ll probably be spending a few nights in the barn when it comes time with a coat and blanket.
The vet then floated Legacy’s teeth and what a difference that made! I’d never actually watched it done before. I completely understood why they gave him the sedative to basically knock him out. The tool they use is quite the apparatus.
The farrier had arrived prior to the vet and got their hooves trimmed. It had been so long I think they each lost an inch in height. Little America was already walking so much better having hers done. She had a type of slipper foot on her front left from not having been trimmed in Lord knows how long.
At the end of the day I felt so much better with them having been checked out and taken care of. They will never have to worry about not getting enough to eat or not being taken care of again. They will be spoiled to the “nth” degree. This is their happy home.
I was so happy and content last night I managed to make some salted caramel cookies. With the remodel of the kitchen coming soon, I won’t be able to bake (or cook) for a few weeks, so this may be the last time in the “old” kitchen I bake something.
God has blessed me over the past few months so much more than I had been before. I am very fortunate that, even through hard times, I have always known He’s there with me. I am forever grateful for all my blessings – family, friends, animals/pets, job – I have it all.