Dueling Dogs

February 22, 2011

Our neighbor across the street has a dog named Gracie.  She’s a bitch.

Hey!  You know female dogs are called bitches!

But I’ll have to admit, our dogs probably think of her in the more derogatory sense of the word.

She has claimed not only her yard as her territory, but the neighbors yard next to her, and our front yard across the road from her yard.  This can be a good thing, because she chases away the pack of dogs from the neighbors at the end of the road. 

However, she also sometimes gets on the other side of some of the fence around our pastures and bugs our dogs.  I imagine the conversation goes something like this:

Gracie: “Ha, ha, you’re stuck behind the fence and I’m running free.”
Our dogs: “Just let us get hold of you… ”

Toby isn’t always behind a fence though.  He goes out to the mailbox with me and then Gracie tries to assert her authority.  Mostly he ignores her.

But sometimes he just has to show her what he thinks of her. . .

picture of two dogs

Let me find just the right place here...

Yep, he’s looking for a place to mark his territory.  I believe it’s his way of saying. . .

“Here’s what I think of you …”
And he probably adds that other word too.

A man and his dog. . .

February 21, 2011

The Farmer and I were out measuring the pond this weekend.  He needed to calculate how big it is so he’d know how many fish he needs to order to stock it.  It’s not as big as he thought I’m afraid!

Anyway, while he was waiting on me to come outside, he and his best buddy, Toby, were resting.

picture of man and farm collie dog

A man and his dog!

You can see The Farmer has a big reel of measuring tape there we used to get the width and length of the pond.  It’s in the shape of an ELLIPSE, so my mathematical genius Farmer had to use some special whiz-bang calculations to figure out the size.

Now to find someone who sells fish in smaller quantities.  We don’t need lots of 100!

Rats!

February 1, 2011

I know there are people with pet rats.  I’m sure they are wonderful pets, but I just can’t see it.  Especially not after the mess we cleaned up this weekend.

First off, I made two serious mistakes that contributed to this problem.

  1. I stored a season’s worth of peacock feathers in the feed room.
  2. I also stored some baling twine in the feedroom.

Why was this a problem?  Well, the rats seemed to think chewed-up feathers and twine fluff make quite excellent nests.

They had a regular habitat built, a warren of rats, hiding behind barrels and the metal trash cans we use to store feed.  It was sheltered from the wind, they had nice little insulated nests, what with the feathers and twine, so what more could they want?

Oh, yeah.  They needed food.
And they found a plentiful supply.

We’d been noticing the peafowl’s food bowl was emptying out mighty fast.  Every morning… empty!  And we figured it highly unlikely the peafowl all of a sudden wanted so much more food.  It didn’t take a great leap of imagination to figure the rats were helping themselves at night after the peafowl went to roost.  So although they couldn’t get to the feed in the metal cans in the feed room, they still had nice high-protein chow at the local Peafowl Restaurant.

And then there was the smell.  A colony of rats, little rat calling cards everywhere, and worse, rat urine.  Really, REALLY bad.

So Saturday we had a nice, warm day, and The Farmer figured it was a good day to clean out the feed room.  While I was at the grocery store, he started in, so I didn’t get to see the first wave of rats leaving the sinking ship.  They had a huge nest built in the corner behind a couple of metal trash cans. . .

picture of torn up rats nest

All this in one nesting area!

By all accounts, when he started pulling this out, the rats went everywhere!  Up the walls, out the door, out a hole in the window screen (and here we’d been blaming squirrels for that hole…).

The twine was wrapped around stuff in the feed room, and was very difficult to work loose.  We had to do a lot of cutting to get it out.  Then The Farmer carried big shovels full of the stuff to a pile outside and burnt it.

picture of man burning rats nesting materials

Burn the filthy stuff!

Toby was going nuts and constantly getting in the way.

picture of dog sniffing rats nest

"I know something is there!"

He could smell the rats had been there, and he could hear the little babies squeaking.  Not to mention a few mummified remains of deceased rodents.

picture of baby rats

A generation past, and the next generation to come...

We did not allow the next generation to mature.

It was a long, dirty, tiring job.  We scraped up caked poop, nesting materials and urine.  We swept and swept.  We could not get every last bit off the floor or from between the outer wall and joists.  But we got most of it.  The feedroom looks a lot better, and it sure smells a lot better!

As for the Peacock Restaurant, it has been closed down.  Every night we bring the bowl of feed in and stick it in a metal can where the rats can’t get to it.  So we have evicted them from their home, and taken away their easy food supply.  I was feeling pretty good about all that until the Cave Geek wondered if they might decide to try living in OUR house next.

I could have done without that thought. . .

The Snowy South

January 12, 2011

It’s even colder today than it’s been all week.  The snow is not going to melt any time soon from the looks of it.  Our local weatherman informs us that this is the third largest snowstorm in history for this area, the first being 1963, then 1988. 

I wasn’t here for either of those snowstorms, but The Farmer was.  He says he remembers the one in 1963 well.  Having just moved here from Wichita, Kansas, the snow didn’t seem unusual to him at the time.  Now after living in the south so many years, he knows better, ha!

We took a ruler outside with us and measured snow all over the place.

picture of ruler in snow

Measuring Snow on top of wellhouse.

Most of the places we measured showed around 7-inches of snow.  Although some places measured a little more, and our neighbors swear we got 8-inches of snow, 7 was the average around here.

The guineas and chickens hate the snow.  The chickens have mostly stayed put in the sheds, but the guineas get out and fly from tree to tree.

picture of guinea in tree

Guinea flying up into snowy tree.

Some of the guineas even flew up on the windowsills to check things out.

picture of guinea sitting on windowsill

Guinea peeking in window after snowstorm.

The snow doesn’t bother the sheep or llama, and even our goat doesn’t seem to mind getting out in it. 

The Farmer and Toby and I enjoyed tromping through the woods and checking out the snow.  Here’s a video with pictures I took from around our snow covered farm:
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This last picture I took this morning when The Farmer and Toby were walking around the far side of the pond.

picture of man and black and white farm collie

Farmer and Farm Collie in the snow.

All this snow reminds me more of when I lived in West Virginia or Iowa or northern Ohio.  It’s been fun for a while, but I’m glad we don’t have to deal with this much snow on a regular basis.

No more snowmageddons in the south please!

Always Avoid Yellow Snow

January 11, 2011

When The Farmer and I went out in the woods to see what it looked like with all that snow we kept seeing patches of yellow snow.  Here are a couple of examples:

picture of dog pee in snow

Yellow Snow #1

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picture of dog pee in snow

Yellow Snow #2

We saw many, MANY more of these, but it gets a little boring looking at yellow patches of snow.  I will note that they always occurred near small bushes, twigs or tree trunks.

Of course, it didn’t take long to see how all those yellow patches of snow were being created:

picture of dog peeing in snow

Our farm collie creating yellow patches of snow.

So, if you are thinking on making snow ice cream sometime, and you see a yellow patch of snow, don’t use it!  Nobody wants Pee Flavored Snow Cream.

Moral of the story: Always avoid yellow patches of snow.