Thursday, December 29, 2011

Riding donkeys

We've now saddled 2 of the donkeys and ridden them.  Well, one of us led them while the other sat on her.  We didn't actually put a bridle on them and steer them.  Still, very exciting for us.  We haven't sat on the boy yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  He's a sweetie too but maybe a little more nervous.  I really feel like we can work with these guys and teach them (or they'll teach us) to pull, ride and plow.  I'm not sure I've ever met such accomodating and sweet animals.  I belong to a Yahoo mammoth group (internet) and today someone posted this sweet video I thought I'd share.  It's about a working donkey and his owner.  If you have 5 or 6 minutes give it a watch.

Someone else on this Yahoo group mentioned how a person took their donkey to the farmer's market with an ice chest on a cart and sold ice cream.  They were a huge hit because everyone loved the donkey.  I know I would buy something from a cart at a farmer's market pulled by a donkey.

Off topic:  Awhile back I talked about strange responses I got to Craigslist ads.  I also get lots of interesting spam commments on my blog and thought I'd share one with you.

"Hi, I liked your hark work in this web page, you are contributing with great things! This site is much enlightening!

I´m Sara, I Live on London, and I will be a follower of this web site, my hobbies may be boring but I say them anyway I like online poker as well as sports in general, and I also listen a lot Metallica on my bedroom, I´m single at the moment so boys watch out for me....just kidding :)! I once tried online dating It did not work out very well....

I wrote this comment because as I already mentioned I really enjoy your page I also have a forum just as you, but mine is vey different from this, it is about playing poker without having to make a deposit....:)

I will also apologize for my writting it was the only way I get to communicate with you....Bye to all of you, Bye bye, by the way Happy New Year "

Almost always entertaining, if not relevant to the topic I blogged about.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More space for the pigs

The pig's pen was a total mud hole and I hated seeing them wade through it every day.  Also, I couldn't get to their bowls to feed them without sinking ankle deep in mud.  Their only dry place was inside their house.  Today I decided to extend their electric fence into more of James' abandoned garden so they could dry their feet and have more to root for.  Instead of using 5 levels of ribbon for their electric fence I put only one strand up in the new area, hoping it will contain them.  If it doesn't then they still won't be able to escape the 10 acres of woven wire fencing their pen is in.  There's now a 10 foot wide "doorway" they can go through to get to the new area.  I thought they'd be thrilled with the notion of seeing grass again.  I left them alone to discover the area on their own.  At least 2 hours later they still hadn't left their sloppy home.  I stepped into the new area and coaxed them.  They both came very close but wouldn't step over the mud-line into the grass-line.  It was so funny.  They talked and talked to me and wanted to so badly but were afraid they'd get zapped by this invisible fence.  Finally Velma did it.  It was just too much for her.  She was thrilled!  She ran about and tore things up.  Roxie watched on but still wouldn't do it.
Again I coaxed her.  The most she did was move her 2 front feet over the line and then stepped back.

Still no go.  I looked out about 2 hours after this video was taken and Roxie had finally ventured out.  Yay Roxie.  I wonder where they'll be in the morning.  I hope this one ribbon keeps them in.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm the proud owner of 3 mammoth donkeys!!!!!!

My Christmas gift arrived at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, just an hour and a half after we returned home from PA.  We had a great time visiting with family and friends for Christmas and this was a perfect way to end the holiday. 

They're beautiful!!!  I wanted to hug and pet them when they unloaded from the trailer but they were too busy checking their surroundings out to be concerned with me.  After awhile the mom, Jaz, let me scratch her and give her a good rub down.  The others were still nervous.  Earl and Willo are the offspring of Jaz. 

This morning it was pouring rain and they were standing in it getting soaked.  I built that run in shed so they wouldn't have to do that.  When I went down to see them this morning they met me at the gate.
Still no braying.  I'll know they're happy here when I hear them bray.  It took Chy a good while before she brayed but I think it will be sooner with these guys.  By the way, Chy is extremely affectionate today.  I don't know if she just missed me or if she's seen the mammoth donkeys across the way.  Also, she's in heat so that might be part of it. 

I put their hay in the shed and stood in there.  They eventually came in and ate.  Jaz must have decided it was nicer to be out of the rain because she stayed in there most of the morning while it poured.  The other 2 took turns going in and out.  I think they've claimed it as theirs now.

Donkeys have beautiful eyes.  There's something very serene about the expression on their faces.
The sun finally came out around 3:00 when my friend came to see them.  He's owned several mules.    James, Tommy and I went down to see them and each of them claimed one of us.  The shyness has disappeared and they all want our attention.  One of the first things Tommy said was, "they're pets".  Of course that was clear by their begging for attention.  Jaz velcroes herself to me and isn't always happy when the others want my attention.  Because she seemed so comfortable with me we decided we'd put her halter on and let Tommy lead her with me on her back.  For all you horse and donkey people, I won't ride her bareback often.  I will saddle her.  It was just one of those moments where we just wanted to see how she'd do.  She was great!  The funny thing was how the others followed us everywhere we went.  I wonder if they were jealous or just wanted to be nearby. 

Elk Cliff farm has changed so much in the past 5 or 6 years.  I can't wait to tell you about more of our adventures.  You may get tired of donkey stories. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A thing of beauty - firewood in the woodshed and my men hard at work

It's a good day when I can watch James and Adam working together gathering wood to fill our woodshed.  This is just some of it.  Much splitting has to be done yet.
James bought himself an early Christmas gift - a new chainsaw.  He must really like it because he cut up 3 large trees today.  Adam was his wing man.

Thank you James and Adam.  The house feels warmer just looking at the wood.

Just thought I'd add this picture because she's cute.  This is my friend's 3 year old granddaughter posing just before going to sit on Santa's lap.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New sheds, clean sheds

Many of the things I did today had to do with moving poop from one place to another.  To those of you who don't have gardens or farm animals this may sound horrible but those who do have them understand how good it feels to have clean chicken coops, rabbit sheds, goat barns and to have added to the compost bin.  James spent much of his day trying to get his greenhouse in order.   This is where most of our compost goes now in hopes it will heat it.  I put a few rabbits in there today too.  Maybe they'll add just a little heat.  I'm sure they're happy for the warmth also.

A note about my rabbits.  I'm the only person in the world who can't get rabbits to make babies.  Someone told me my doe is too fat and maybe too old.  I bought two more rabbits from him in hopes that they'll give me some babies.  I'm getting a few more from him too.  Surely one of them will reproduce. 

The rest of my afternoon was spent putting the finishing touches on our run-in shed.  I'm really pleased with it.   Right now it's storing tools and lumber. 

On December 26th three mammoth donkeys will arrive and I can't wait to show them their new digs and introduce them to you.  Their names are Willo, Earl and Jaz.  I've met them twice and already know we're going to be the best of friends.  I have big plans for the 4 of us.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lots more helping hands

More company, more help.  My niece and her boyfriend came to visit for a few days.  They probably thought we'd show them a good time or they could just sit back, relax and drink some homemade wine.  HA!  Relaxing was probably not the word they used to describe their visit.  As you know we're building a barn.  We enlisted them to help build rafters.  Not only were they were real troopers but they were great help.  Things moved along very quickly with 4 of us working.
Adam, Melissa and Susan helped us yesterday and we were able to get the purlins up and roof on.
I'm thinking we need to plan a family reunion right about the time we want to build our big barn.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In need of a helping hand

I'm building another barn in our field.  Actually it's just a 3 sided run in shelter.  It's very much like our goat and donkey barns so I'm getting pretty good at throwing one up in a hurry.  We've had heavy rains for the past 2 days and I've been itching to get to building.  I got up early this morning because I was lying awake planning what had to be done and not getting any sleep.  We already had the 4X4 posts in the ground so the fun part was still to come.  Unfortunately James had to teach today so I was on my own.  The shelter is 16'X16' and it's hard to navigate 16' boards all by yourself when they're 9 feet off the ground.  To make things easier I made 2 of these.
It doesn't look like much, just a block of wood with 2 angle brackets, but I couldn't have gotten done what I did today without them.  I'm sure a builder would tell me there's an easier way but I was pretty pleased by how well this worked.
The new residents of this barn arrive December 26th.  I better get a move on.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Internet friends up close and personal

It's funny how many friends, really good friends, I've made because of the internet.    Some I met through freecycle, goat groups, milk groups, facebook, blogs, craigslist, etc. 

Today one of my goat kids went to a new home in WV.  Her new owners came on Thursday and spent two nights with us before taking her home.  We met because of an online goat group I'm a member of and later met in person for a few hours at a goat jamboree earlier this year.  As you can imagine none of us knew what to expect of our few days together but I don't think any of us were the least bit worried that we wouldn't get along (at least James and I weren't).  For all they knew we could have been some crazies who would lock them up and torture them.

We had a great few days together.  It's funny how strangers can click like this.  We were busy most of the time and we had much in common, as you can probably tell by this picture.  Note the coveralls, shoes and hands in pockets. 

 They helped us dig post holes for a run in shelter in our field.  How many guests can you ask to do this?  I believe Shelley loves to build as much as I. 
We drug them to hear James practice music and then play Scrabble with us.   They never blinked an eye.  I wonder what they said on their way back home. 

An hour after they left someone else showed up to buy 2 more goats.  She had answered a Craigslist ad of mine.  She brought a friend with her.  Again, we had much in common.  I think they stayed for an hour - a very enjoyable hour.  I received an email from one of the women this morning inviting us to their home for dinner sometime.  They're only about an hour from here. 

Today more friends we've made because of goat sales on Craigslist will be coming for lunch before borrowing one of our bucks for breeding.  They live an hour and a half away but we've had dinner at each other's homes a few times since first meeting and would see each other more often if we lived closer. 

My last blog post painted a picture of weirdos I encounter via the internet.  That happens much less than the experiences I've mentioned above.