About Me

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I am a 42 year old woman that is about as happy and content as one person can be. My husband of 21 years and our 15 year old daughter live on five and a half acres out in the country. We moved from the city four years ago and never looked back. I homeschool our daughter. We also love our animals. Our daughter has a miniature horse and two rabbits. We also have a border collie, two cats (again), two pot belly pigs, four peafowl, three emus, 2 llamas and an undetermined number of chickens, lets just say ohhh about 200. I have many breeds, from layers to fancy chickens. I love poultry shows, I love fowl in general as I have come to find out through having more than just chickens. Chickens will always be my first love though. I do show some of my birds occasionally.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Third Entry-My Chicken Hobby

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I looked at all sorts of designs for a chicken house online. I ended up coming up with my own design to suit myself. I built this all by myself other than my Dad cut the holes for me for the egg doors and the front door and windows and the side door. I still have this same house four and a half years later...and I tell you what. If you ever want to use a paint that will never come off...use that barn paint from Lowes. I don't think I have a chip of paint come off since I put the paint on!

After putting my design down on paper and making up a supply list I set off to Lowes and got what I needed. It took me a little while, but I got the job done. I have a lot of my Dad in me...but this did not carry over I am sorry to say. He is SO good at woodworking. I am just lucky the thing is still standing today..it is one of my better projects that held up to the test of time. I was even thinking ahead as I made it where you could take it apart from the corners to break it down and move it..say...for when we made that move to the country. ;)

In these pictures you can see the three trap doors in the back for egg retrieving. Inside those door you could reach down into the plastic egg crates...which later were filled with nesting material...straw, and get your eggs. The side door was a clean out door. I was thinking ahead and had laid down chicken wire and then dirt, then straw on the floor of the chicken house. This prevented anything from digging under the sidewalls and getting in to the chicken house.

In one picture you can see I built a run on the front. They were not cooped up in this all day once they were of a good size not to be toted off by a neighbors cat. They were allowed out during the day and locked up tight at night. They were good girls...for all the room they had back there, they were happy and never jumped the fence to a neighbors yard.

I was not supposed to have chickens within 600 feet of another house...so having chickens in the city limits was a no no...but I have always been a stubborn hard head...and I wanted a few chickens darnit. They werent hurting anything.

We always had possums and even had a raccoon residing in the next door neighbors attic once while they were replacing the old rotting wood that is right under the gutters. There was no shortage of cats in the neighborhood, or roaming dogs for that matter..so I had to be sure my gates stayed locked and my girls stayed safe.

Now that my girls were outside...I felt a little empty while indoors...you know where this is going right? ;) Oh yes, I had to get a few more chicks and begin all over again...that I will save for next time.

Right now it is time for me to get up out of this chair and get this day rolling. I hope you have a wonderful Friday. I sure am going to try.

Oh, Helen mentioned putting something in with the chicks for digestion. They do make 'grit' now you can buy to add to their food or put in a little dish by their food. I don't know why I have never used it...I really should next go around, so thanks for reminding me of it.

Second Entry of My Chicken Hobby Story

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Isnt it amazing how far cameras have come. I look at these photos from four and a half years ago and there is just no comparison. It took me a long time to afford a good digital camera, but it has been one of the best presents Ian has ever gotten for me. I have always loved to take pictures.

These two pictures are from the Buffs first outside experience. Oh yes, they have names, and yes I could tell them apart. Look at all those leaves on the ground. We had so many trees in the back yard. I hated raking leaves all the time..and the gutters were always a mess as that was Ians job and it never got done. Well I won't say never...but hardly ever. I don't miss that at all. Not having any trees can have a few drawbacks when the wind picks up or it is especially hot out...but I don't mind at all. I just hated raking leaves.

I knew the basics about chickens, but there was so much more to learn. I learned the hard way NOT to use straw hay of any kind in the brooder. Some might disagree...but I use pine shavings now, fine pine shavings. About six weeks into it one chick decided to try and eat the hay in the brooder. To eat something like that a chicken must have grit in its craw...or whatever you want to call it...where the food packs in as it is digested..its so early...why cant I think of what it is called...lol. Not enough coffee yet I guess. Anyway...this was an emergency situation. When chickens eat little pebbles and dirt it is to help grind up what they eat in that pouch. Chicks dont have that unless they are born on dirt outside like the two Serama chicks I let hatch out with their Mamas. So, what goes in, comes out the same. Getting stuck. Bad bad news. I tried everything. Mineral oil, tweezers, cotton swabs. I was trying to coax that hay out without damaging the insides of the chick. You can pull them inside out so to speak and that would surely kill the chick. Well it died anyway...I couldnt get enough of it out to matter. Lesson learned the hard way. Some would say not to put them on shavings either. They try to eatthat too. But at least they just eat the little tiny dust pieces and that passes. Nowadays I keep my newborns on layers of papertowels and peel them back as the towels get dirty. I try to do that for at least a week if not more.

So I lost one. Now I had five. I have had these same five up until recently when I found one girl dead under the pool deck. I don't know what happened to her...they are getting older...but a chicken can possibly live for up to fifteen years. So now I have four left of my original girls. There is nothing like your first chickens. I have new layers out there now, but they are just not bonded with me like my first girls. When you only have five you can spoil them rotten with love and attention and treats. I even wrote a story about them once. I still have it on my computer. I read it now and it seems a little silly, but it was written with a lot of love in it.

As my attachment grew, so did they. It was time for them to go outside and I knew it. Soon they would have to, they were getting too big to keep in the brooder. During the day I would open up the top of the brooder and let them perch on the side. They never got down, just perched there all day getting in and out of the brooder. I would walk by as I was cleaning house or whatever I may have been doing at the time...talking to them and petting them all day long.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Ramblings

Good afternoon to everyone. Well, Traci, thankyou...you sent me some rain just like I asked you to! ;) It wasnt even a torrential rain. It is just a nice regular rain with a little breeze. I stood out on the front porch at the end with it blowing in on me...sprinkling me with its coolness. Ahhhh...feels so good not to be hot.

I normally go to bed about 10. Last night I was a bad girl. I stayed up. Oh boy did I. I don't sleep well when the moon is full. I know that sounds silly, but I think it has something to do with it being so light outside. Anyway, I read my book for a while...I am reading Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs Dance of Death. It is one of the Detective Pendergast books if you have read any previously. You may remember Relic, that was by both of them also. It was made into a movie, but to me almost always the book is better. So...not getting sleepy I got online and browsed for a little while...still not sleepy I went to see what I could find on TV. I ended up watching a movie called Haunted with Aiden Quinn in it. I like him. The movie was two and a half hours long, and I said to myself, Self, you can rent this on Netflix sometimes, you need to go to bed. Self did not listen. Self stayed up til 3 a.m. OH well...so I slept until almost 11 a.m. this morning. Oops. We all slip up sometimes. ;)

We still got school done. House is cleaned up, vacuumed, dishes done, laundry is going...and I need to put a pork roast on the grill...but it is raining. So I am gonna sit here a while and talk to all you nice folks. :)

I got a call from Dwain last night. He is having a tough time dealing with dumb people. He asked a friend to take him to pick up some chickens. Maybe he used the term birds, I dont know. His friend got a mile from the ending location and stopped because the road was roughly paved. He informed Dwain that his tires were not made to drive on that kind of road. WHAT? LOL. Its a VAN they are in. Its not like its a gravel dirt road. He managed to convince hsi friend that it would be alright to drive on this road. They got to the location and as he was loading up the chickens (bantams now, little chickens) his friend said...now I lie to you not he says...

"Oh I didn't know we were going to be picking up a bunch of cows."


Dwain was speechless. I told him the first thing out of my mouth would have been...ARE YOU SERIOUS???

He didnt want to upset his friend and the charity his friend had extended to take him out to pick up these chickens, so he just didnt say anything.

Oh there is so much more to this story...like the guy ended up backing his van into Dwains fence...but the chicken-cow phrase was enough to make my jaw drop to the ground.

I cannot believe that people are really that dumb. Tires that can't drive on pavement. Chickens that are cows. But it is true..it is all very true. LOL


We usually go to the store today, but we arent going to. Ian is not feeling to well. He is having a lot of sinus trouble and a bad headache from it. It is raining anyway...a good day to stay home. We can go tomorrow.

I thought I would include a few pictures of Tiger. There used to be a Lily, but he didnt like her too much and got too rough with her and she has since passed on...so he is by himself, but he is doing fine. I think he needs some time alone for a while anyway. It seems to be doing him some good. I have been feeding him daily by hand to get him to warm up to me a little. A bird this pretty, you just want to parade him around and hold him and love on him. He doesnt want any part of this though. We have plenty of time...maybe one day. Dwain gave me this bird in trade. When I got him he was in molt so his neck feathers were sheathed and his tail was just growing back in. He looks magnificent now. I wish I could catch him displaying his neck, it is something to see, so beautiful. Oh I didnt even mention what he is. He is a Red Golden Pheasant.

I lost my other Sumatra hen yesterday. I dont know what has happened in that pen while I am not looking. I do know that when birds are getting their new feathers in they seem really testy and moody. It is and itchy and skin irritating time, so I can't blame them. Johnny is molting really big time molting. He has no tail left, with new pin feathers growing in and all sheathed pin feathers coming in all around his neck. I am afraid he may have killed her, not meaning to, but I still think somehow her neck got broken. I believe this is what happened to the other one too. So now he is alone. I can't understand it. She was just fine yesterday when I went out to feed and water, so that must be what happened. I have no extra hens for him...I will have to replace them when I can find him some ladies...but I think he can wait just a little while too, til he has filled out and has all his new feathers in.

Oh guess what. Your not gonna believe this. That cat was back. I was on the screen porch last night talking on the phone with Dwain and I hear a noise. I look out on the step and there sits that dang cat. I couldnt let Tip out to chase. It was dark..and I was afraid I would lose her out in the vast darkness out here. Time to get out the BB gun I guess. SIGH.

Well I reckon that is about all the rambling for now...I hope everyone is having a good Thursday. :)


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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cat Chasing This Morning

This morning we had some excitement around our little farm. The day before yesterday Tip was getting chickens back in the fence and she was having to retrieve one from the side closest to the cotton field next door to us. My eye caught a flash of black and white streaking into the cotton. It was so quick I thought maybe I was just seeing things. I went over to make sure it wasn't a chicken. That might be disastrous if a chicken got in there, I don't know if they are smart enough to find their way back out. No chicken that I could see.

My eyes did not decieve me. I DID see what I thought I saw. As I went out to put Phoenix in his porch enclosure this morning I looked over to my left out of the porch and slinking along the garage on the patio was a black cat with white markings. Stalking chickens that were behind the fence, just minding their own business. Sneaking back in to the house quietly I whispered for Tip. She came barrelling through the house as usual, ready to do her duty. I stopped her short of the door and explained to her that she was not getting chickens this morning. I told her "There is a CAT. Get the CAT". Now she knows about getting cats. I will tell you why later. So she was primed and shot out the door like a lightening bolt onto the porch, me racing to get the porch screen door open and her shooting out into the patio...no cat...but we know cats...it was around the corner not far we were sure. I told her to "Find the CAT" and she was on the trail...quickly finding it hiding under the front porch there was much scrabbling and the cat shot out from under the end of the porch with Tip right behind. Both were incredibly fast.

Now we dont have many trees. Matter of fact what anyone would consider a real tree, a mature tree with shade to offer...well we are just fresh out. The cat headed for the one tall tree we have out front and was half way up before it stopped. Tip was pumped, she was hoppin' and a barkin'. It took some convincing but I got her to come on back in. I left the front door open so she could watch the cat in the tree. After a few minutes the cat started to get down. I sent Tip out there to send it back up the tree. She excitedly did her job once more. I wanted this cat to know we meant business and didnt want it to stick around. One more time Tip came back in. I let her watch at the door but this time I let the cat get down. Tip was going nuts barking and whining as that cat ran like its tail was on fire out towards the road and into the cotton field across the road. I dont think we will see it again. ;)

Normally I dont worry about cats too much. We have had a few come and go around here. They will come around at night and catch mice. But I do have one small hen out there, Dorothy. She is a silkie and very small. A cat could probably kill her. So I have to look after her, even though she does have Rough and Rowdy to protect her, and believe me they are fierce protectors of their lady, I dont want to take chances that someone gets mortally wounded if I can help it. This is the first time I have seen a cat take interest in bothering the chickens...so it had to go. And go it did.

I almost forget to tell why Tip is well schooled in getting the kitty. Back before our cats got old and didnt care anymore (we are down to one 17 year old) they liked to try to get away with popping their claws on whatever was handy be it the couch or the carpet. When one would pop, I would tell Tip GET THE KITTY, or GET THE CAT. She would haul butt through the house after the offending cat, chasing it into hiding. After a while, I didnt have to say a word. Tip would hear the popping noise and go after the source. Cats lick too much in my opinion also. It can get quite annoying. Likcing leads to massive hairball logs being vomited somewhere strategically placed so you can step on it in the dark as you go to the bathroom at 3 a.m. in the morning. I have had cats that would be so obsessed with grooming they began to eat their hair off their bodies, so I like to keep the grooming to a minumum as they are after all inside cats and just dont get that dirty. So following the same rules...STOP LICKING provoked the dog to come running to stop the offending cat. Now let it be known that you have to remember, Tip is a herding dog so she never actually makes contact with her "prey" so to speak. That would not do. But to have her hauling butt towards you and come within an inch of you staring you down is enough to get anything moving...lol.

Anyway...that is the story on that.

I want to take a minute to thank everyone for coming to visit my journal. It really does mean a lot to me that you stop by and take time out with me. I know I still have some that don't comment, and thats okay...come on out and say something one day if you feel so inclined.

Lisa I am so glad to hear you are feeling better...don't over do now, you don't want a relapse. Hestiahomeschool wrote that her husband wont let them have two silkie hens because they already have too many animals. Hm...welll...I will tell you...Ian and I have an agreement. I can have as much as I want as long as I take care of them and he doesnt have to do stuff. I think I am at my limit right now as I do still have a lot of time taken up with my daughter...but I sure do wish I could have a few head of miniature cattle...but WOW they are so expensive! So how many animals do you have anyway? Paula that is an iron rooster! That thing sat in a neighbors garage for over twenty years. She knew I loved chickens so much and showed up with it one day when she was stopping in to buy eggs. She said it had just been sitting there and she never knew what to do with it til she met me. She knew I would love it, and of course I do. It had a few cob webs on it and some oil spilled on it, but I cleaned it right up and I liked it so much I put it in the house instead of hanging outside somewhere to get dirty again.

Well its time for me to go visit all of you now...I need to catch up on putting all my new friends on my side bar here sometime soon too. I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday.




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Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend and a Bamboo Fountain

Good Monday to everyone. Lets all try to have a good week this week. I have a lot I want to accomplish this week.

We had a nice weekend. Especially on Sunday since Ian was off work. :) I sold a lot of eggs this past week so I thought it would be nice to treat us to a morning out to breakfast. We went to Ryans breakfast bar. They always have just about anything you could want or imagine you might want and then some! After a filling breakfast we meandered on over to Big Lots. Oh, we have to go into Rome, GA to do anything like this by the way. In our little town there is nothing like all that is up in Rome. I didnt find a whole lot I couldnt live without in there. Shelby and Ian found a couple of computer games and I found Shelby a really pretty full size horse calendar for a dollar. It had beautiful pictures of horses by the ocean and running on the beach.

Then it was on to Lowes. I always find stuff in there I want! We went through the garden section first. I picked up some little mums. I am just to much of a cheapy to buy the big grown ones. I figure those little ones will get bigger eventually. Then we passed this bamboo fountain. Oh it was so cool. It was on clearance. Gravitating to it we really liked it. So we put the last one they had in the buggy. I got some barn paint for Derbys barn. Ian drooled over all the massive tool boxes. There is a Kobalt set top and bottom he wants. He does have to have stuff like that for work. He has one now but got it back when he first started in maintenance and could really use more room. So he is getting on the ball and selling his two 'broken but useful to someone that likes those cars' SC 35th Anniversary Thunderbirds. There is actually a message board just for Thunderbird car lovers...can you believe that..so he posted and already has two potential buyers. Now I need to get on the ball and sell my older truck, then maybe we can get his toolbox and take a three day trip to Florida like we always like to do this time of year. Yeahhh....

We got back home and tore into the bamboo fountain. Ian set it up and got it turned on. Now in reality this thing was meant to be out in a garden or on a porch, something like that. No...we both agreed it would be really cool to have it in the house...so here it sits, trickling and bopping...you can see the little piece that rocks back and forth on the top...filling with water and then tipping over...it makes a little hollow wooden sound everytime it does that...its kind of relaxing...we love it. Besides when it gets cold we wouldnt be able to have it outside anyway! So why not have it inside to enjoy all the time. When the weather starts to get too cool I will bring in all my tropical plants like my Sago Palm (LOVE this plant) and place them around it, wont that be pretty?

Oh there is also a hole in that top bamboo there...it came with one of those Tiki Torch cannisters you can burn oil in...but unless its outside we wont use that or course.


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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bonnie and Clydes New House


Been a long day...but I did manage to get the one thing I wanted to get done today accomplished. I got Bonnie and Clydes house finished. Now this doesnt look like much, but trust me..it is built with messy chickens in mind. It is also a plain old white right now...but I will soon have it looking good with some stenciling or something.

Now first I wanted to point out the thick plexiglass barrier along the bottom half of the enclosure. That my friends is to keep messy chicken feet from kicking pine shavings out everywhere.

Next you will see a sturdy little table made just for their food and water. This is also to prevent shavings and poo from being kicked into them.

The chicken wire is just that, to keep them in.

It has a side door for access to the inside.

Now, looking at these pictures I think I will find some wallpaper and wallpaper the inside of that door and the back side of the inside of their house...that would just be so darn cute!

I also plan on seasonal curtains to close up over the side and front. For winter I will get some nice snow pattern or something like that in a thick material like flannel or fleece. Oh it will be so much fun to change out the curtains! LOL

They both seem very happy and very content with their new living quarters..and that makes me very happy to know that they are happy.

Other than that I didnt get a darn thing done today...I did mill around outside feeding and watering..talking to everybody about this and that.

Its all of ten oclock and I am ready for bed. Boy am I the party animal or what on Saturday night! LOL I have learned you better not party the night away or you will still have to get up with the chickens...and feel like ten miles of bad road...he he...so I opt for a good nights sleep.




In The Beginning

It would seem that Saturday mornings are when I have the most time to sit and reflect...to sit and think without interruption. So, I will indulge myself one more time before I go outside. Why not? It IS the weekend! Shelby sleeping late, Ian at work...I can take some time to think about things and share them here.

This morning I think I will answer the frequent question so many ask of me.

How DID you get so into chickens?

Well I won't lie, I wasn't always bent on living in the country. When I was in my twenties I didnt know what I wanted until I got pregnant with Shelby and then my whole perspective changed. I had a child to think about, and I wanted the best environment possible for her to grow up in. It took some doing, but we accomplished that as we live and breathe here in present day. Some people never get the chance to 'get out" of the crowded city life. We made it happen, and I feel so fortunate.

Anyway...as I grew older and wiser, as I mellowed in my old age...I began to gravitate towards country 'things'. I started going to rodeos...I was dreaming of the country life. I frequented country living message boards...reading about people that already lived this life I wanted so badly. We went to fairs that had country crafts, animals, Cattle, sheep, pig, llama, rabbit, cavy, goat shows. What a wonderful world they must live in to bring their animals to show. I gravitated towards country music probably about ohhh...twelve or so years ago. The song that got me started...now don't laugh.

Kenny Chesneys...She Thinks My Tractors Sexy. Okay, laugh if you want, go ahead.

We were at the Georgia National Fair and there was a clogging show going on...man it got my blood pumping to see those girls just a gettin' it to that song. I was hooked from then on for sure.

I know, I keep getting side tracked, but I am having a good time this morning thinking about things, so just bear with me.

So, my parents had moved to Stockbridge and in passing on the way to their house there was a house sitting a little back from the road...with a sign out front. It was an old weathered piece of plywood with roughly painted letters on it, reading Fresh Eggs For Sale.

Hmmmm...fresh eggs...what does that mean? They have chickens back there? Is it safe to buy eggs like that? (I know, what a dummy, I didnt know any better) Curiousity got the better of me and I drove up the dirt and gravel driveway. A nice lady came out and I bought a dozen for a dollar. I took those eggs home and we had some that weekend for breakfast. I had never known eggs could actually have TASTE until this moment. Imagine my surprise when I saw that egg yolks are not in fact a washed out pale yellow color like from the store. I was hooked. OH yes, I had to go back and get more of these.

Three weeks into it, their girls went into molt and stopped laying. :( Talk about sad. What to do? What to do?

Where do you get chickens? I didnt have a clue. I hadnt ever heard of the Market Bulletin, didnt know that flea markets had poultry for sale all the time. I didnt have a clue. So I asked on a message board. Try a feed store they said. Okay. I went to a very long standing feed store...and sure enough, they had chicks...well, not right then. They would have them in the Spring. I could hardly wait. But wait I did. During that time I researched the internet and learned as much as I could about raising chicks. Boy did I learn a lot. I still learn things today.

So Spring came...well, I started calling the feed store back in January...asking if they had any chicks in yet. I wonder if they knew my voice after so many calls...lol. I had settled on Buff Orpingtons as my first chicks. They are a docile friendly breed and great layers.

They finally came..oh they came! Off to the feed store I went with my little box ready. I bought six little buff orpington chicks..little yellow fuzzballs of joy. I was just so happy! I was going to have my very own eggs! Well, in about five or six months...;)

Chicks have to be kept at a certain temperature when they are little...or they will die. you start at about 95 degrees and take five degrees off each week as they get older. I had a heat lamp set up...medicated feed, medicated water, the proper waterers and feeders...I was ready to go! I regulated the temperature in the brooder with a towel on top of the cut out lid with window screen attached over the cut out section.

Here are some of the very first pictures I took when I started my hobby with chickens.





Chicks New Brooder Pic

Well that is about enough for today, I really should get on outside now. I will go further along on this story at another time. I hope everyone has a great weekend, I sure am going to try to. :)

How Time's Fun When Your Having Flies

He he...okay maybe its How Time Flies When Your Having Fun...but I do like to mix it up...and its pretty funny too. :)


Wow, where does the time go?

A week has passed since my last entry. I need to get on the ball here don't I. Not keeping up with things too well.

Last Sunday I went to pick up Mama and Daddy, and to my surprise hell must have frozen over because my younger sister was actually going with us. None of us would believe it until she actually showed up at the doorstep..that is how reliable she can be. She really has good intentions...and we all know some really bad things have happened in history where good intentions were implemented. But, this time things were going to be alright. She showed up, late, but showed.

We took off about a half an hour late, but not a big deal. Made pretty good time down to Geneva. I thought MY little town was small. When I got back I looked up the population of Geneva and found it had only 113 people. I think half of them (no, I really mean it, half of the population) were in the Subway sandwich shop. That is the happening after church lets out place to go. Well, it is the only place to go. There is nothing else out there. I mean nothing. We all got our sandwiches along with Grandmamas. Erin had gone next door to the convenience store, and came back with what I havent seen since I was a kid. A Nehi drink, yes, I guess you can expect to find ancient artifacts like Nehis in Geneva.

Coming in late to the nursing home...Grandmama had decided to go on down to the dining room and have a bite to eat. Erin went to get her explaining that half of the town was in Subway thus our being severely delayed.

We all got settled in her little cubby corner half of the room and ate our sandwiches, making small talk, showing pictures. She was delighted to see Phoenix. Of course I brought him! I wouldnt leave him at home when his presence was requested. He was his usual friendly self, a very social little man. Three hours passed and before you knew it we had to get back on the road. You see it takes two and a half hours to get back to Mama and Daddys house...then another hour and fourty five minutes for me to get to my house from theirs. It is getting dark so early now and I don't do so well in the dark so we had to get going.

There is one thing that Grandmama said to me that made me smile. As she rubbed Phoenix underneath his neck feathers she said to me "I never understood why you loved chickens so much, but now I know, and now I understand. " For someone to "get" me, and "get" what I feel for my pet chickens is a big deal. Especially if it is Grandmama...because in all my years the only thing I ever remember her really loving were cats... and that was a long time ago. She is not big on the natural world of plants and animals...she loves her modern conveniences for sure. So for her to say that meant a lot.

As luck would have it Erin and Daddy both developed stomach problems. We had to make several stops if you know what I mean. I still made it back to familiar territory before darkfall.

All in all we had a good visit. I don't have any pictures because Grandmama didnt want me to take any. She has had to go off of Aleve for her pain and they have put her on Predenisone (sp?). She didnt feel up to snuff and said she just didnt look good. She did look a little tired.


So what else has gone on all week here?

Homeschool, homeschool, and more homeschool.

Animals, mowing, laundry, dishes, cleaning house..the usual.

Nothing out of the ordinary...which is a good thing in my book.

Sold a lot of eggs this week, good thing the new girls are starting to lay regularly.

Tip is still having to herd chickens every morning...but you know she loves it.

This weekend? Well, I am going to have to get on the ball and finish Bonnie and Clydes domicile...then tomorrow will be weed whacking, much trimming to be done.

Derby is doing fine, he has been on his vitamins for a couple of weeks now...lol...he thinks he is getting a treat when he gets those pellets. Ha, fooled him. I do think it is helping him. He seems to look better and his new hoof growth looks good, doesnt seem to have the fever rings on the upper hoof.

Well, enough talking, time to get to work! There is always work to be done. Shelby has her work today too...she will be cleaning the barn out completely and putting down fresh wheat straw in there.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend...and I will see you all sooner than later. :)

Here are a few pictures of my growing Silkies. These are the ones I got from Dwain. Twiggy is on the end there...that has become Shelbys favorite little guy now. :)


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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tips Daddy....Tip

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The past two years we have been we have spoken to him after the shows, I know he saw us, so we thought we would be the bigger person and speak. We also were amazed that Tip was still alive and looking good.

Nothing big said, just how are things and whatnot.

Past Pictures of Tip

Tip bar jump Tip Tire Jump

First picture is the adjustable height bar jump.

Second one is the tire jump.

You can see the weave poles in the back of the second picture.

I dont know why I didnt take more pictures of her going through all the agility equipment, I dont have one picture of her going through those tunnels and those are the neatest things!

Wet beach dog below....



Some of these are before I had my digital camera and when I scanned it through the scanner it had lines no matter what I did, so please excuse that. Also I know it doesnt fit right in the frame...just old technology clashing with new...

Another beach shot with Shelby and Ian below.



Tips Story Part Two

Back to Tips Story. Now Tip and I were inseperable. She went wherever I did. If I went to visit anybody, she was in the truck riding with me. Riding may seem like an easy thing...even enjoyable for a dog. Not my dog though. For the first year of her life I had to give her Dramamine (motion sickness) pills like what people take to keep from getting carsick. Had to pop her a pill about 30 minutes before we left...then she was still nervous, but she didnt throw up in the truck at least. After about a year, it just kind of went away and she was fine. Loved to go wherever. We take her to Florida with us, I take her to my parents. Trips to Petsmart when we used to go. She always went with me to pick Shelby up from school when she used to go to public school.

Our first time to the beach she wasnt too sure about the ocean...she would go in and out with the tide...not wanting the water to consume her. She learned very quickly not to drink the salty water as it caused the ummmm squirts you could say! LOL Now when we go she is into it. She crashes her chest against the waves, leaping into them. We keep her on a 24 foot retractable leash just in case. I don't want my poor dog going out to sea. I have some very funny pictures of her at the beach...I will have to see about those too...

So, back to doing the fair. We did the Fair for two years in a row. So if you saw that show, that was Tip and I. I think we may have stole the show as (I will not name him here)the man was amazed at the turn out when people saw the set up. My set up was very colorful, caught your eye. Green, red, blue, very striking colors.

We had some good times, but things turned bad. I don't know to this day why he didnt want me to do the show with him anymore, but he tried to lie to me and tell me the Fair representatives didnt want me doing it. When I contacted someone about this word got back, and he was furious. Furious because I had called him on a lie. At the time I didnt know he had lied to me, so he was caught. He threatened me, said he would sue me if he lost his contract and the money that would have been made from doing the fair gigs. Can you believe that? Pretty bad. He said he didnt ever want to hear from me or see me again.

Well you know each year when we went to the fair we saw his show anyway. Know what. He has told me he hates doing the show. He just does it for the money. Isnt that sad. I really loved doing it and I didnt get paid a dime. My reward was talking to people afterwards.

He told me that my dog was not doing the course perfectly and it made him look bad. Well his dogs were not perfect either. I think it was just an excuse.

So, we came home and I dont do agility shows anymore.

Tips favorite toy is a soccer ball.

Linda, I think it was asked me how I trained her to do the things she does. Well, half of it is natural instinct. The other half is me directing that instinct. If I have the soccer ball, she is focusing on that ball...if I tell her to Come By, she knows to go to the left, and I will kick it to the left. I also have her Get Out (move outwards) and Come By...and I keep saying Come By...and she will circle me...the same goes for Away To Me...that is the dogs right...and I go through the same motions. Walk Up is when I am going to kick the ball straight to her. She has to Get Out, and then I get her to Walk Up...slow slow...and will sometimes make her stop by holding up my hand and saying Wait..if she continues to creep I will give the command Lie Down. Lie Down in herding speak does not necessarily mean stay...it just stops the motions for a moment. I will pop the ball up and she will catch it.

All these commands are useful to direct her in herding because sometimes she gets too excited and will actually herd the chickens away from the fence. This usually happens at first when she is first out there...til she settles in and gets to work.

Tip is seven years old now. She is still like my second child. I love that dog more than anyone could know...so it is hard for me to see her with all the phobias that she has.

I will say this, working her helps her to relax. I have not done near enough of that. So the chicken herding is really helping her to have an outlet.


Chicken Herding Pictures

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Push em Tip... push em.



The stare down.


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Testing Tips patience...the Red Star pushing her luck



Tip says no way...ain't gonna happen.



Git your rear off that fence chicken.



Alright chicken...I have had it.





Tips Story

Tip...what a dog. Border collies are like no other breed that is for sure. You better be ready for a wild ride when you obtain a border collie.

Shelby was born in October of 1994. She never saw a day care or a preschool, so she was home with me and the first five years I had her all to myself. So, when it was time for her to go to school...there was an empty spot in my life. In October of 2001 we went to the Georgia National Fair just as we always do. Each year there is a demonstration done by a man with extraordinary dogs. One in particular. His name is Tip. This dog lives to work, I mean really, non stop. When he is chained to the fence waiting his turn in the demonstration he loops around and steps over the chain over and over, staring intently at the sheep in the pen area. I think this obsession has been what has kept him alive today. Tip (my Tips Daddy) has had cancer for two years, but he doesnt know it apparently. He will be 11 or 12 years old now...and I hope he will still be alive when we go, not letting the cancer get him.

So, back to my Tip. We had been talking for some time about getting a dog. We both knew we wanted a border collie, but we wanted the dog from real working stock...none of this back yard breeder stuff. I have seen what back yard breeding does to border collies. When Shelby was in elementary school her school had a "Dog Day" one weekend. You brought your dog to show off his or her talents. We set up the agility course for Tips talents. There was another border collie there. He had had all the instinct of a border collie bred out of him, you could tell, you could see it in his eyes, the passion and obsession this type of dog has was gone. He did not crouch...his stance was like any normal dog. A herding dog slinks...has an intense stare towards what it is herding. This dog had none of that, and it was sad really.

Wow I keep trailing off dont I. LOL

So we brought our money and got the last pup he had. Sired by Tip...a national champion herding dog among other achievements. He sold the pup to us for a hundred dollars less just because he wanted the pup to go to a dedicated home and he felt we were the ones to have her.

That was the start of a whole new world. What a dog. She was great. I no longer had to yell for the cats to stop popping their claws on the furniture or puking on my bed covers. She was on top of things. All it took was one pop, one puking sound and she was on their butts. I am down to one cat now, and then that will be all for me. I am done with cats. Where we used to live there was an overabundance of squirrels. So many my bird feeders were almost always under attack. She was always on top of things, a black and white streak out the door to chase them away. Sometimes there would be as many as twenty squirrels out there...what fun for her!

When my first chickens started living outdoors in their new chicken house we began to have a rat problem. Even taking up food does not keep rats away. See, rats eat the chicken poop too. Yes, I know...gross. She was on top of that too, along with my have a heart trap, of which I had no heart if one was unlucky enough to get trapped...if you know what I mean. It was dispatched to rat heaven right away.

A couple of miles from our old home there was a couple that had dogs that ran agility. Their back yard backed up to the road and you could see the jumps, teeters, weave poles, all of that. So one day I stopped in and asked about it all...we talked for a long time...she made everything herself out of PVC pipes and such. So you guessed it, I went and got what I needed and started making stuff. I have a few pictures of these...I will post later. I made my own tunnel at first then later I bought a collapsing tunnel and a regular tunnel off of the internet.

As we practiced and got better I talked to the man that had sold her to us...he inquired as to what we had been doing with Tip and I told him. He asked if we might like to do a little run and add to his herding demonstration showing the diversity of the border collie.

I am going to continue this...but I dont want this to get too long...so I will be back.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Field Trip Wednesday


Another advantage to homeschooling is you dont have to stay with the group! You can take your time, read it all...take it all in. Ian took the day off and we went to Fernbank Museum. There was so much to see and do. One whole room was dedicated to optical illusions, and so much more. I have many more pictures I will show later...but it is getting late and we need to start school soon.

My days have been very busy so I have not been able to make as many entries and share as many pictures as I would like. So I am keeping them short for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I will be gone Sunday with my parents to visit my grandmother in Geneva, Ga. See you when I get back. :)

Misbehavin' Chickens


Tip is pretty happy about her new job as of late. She is a border collie...bred from working stock, so any chance she gets to work is like candy is to a kid. She needs no reward for working because being able to work is a reward in itself for her.

For about two weeks now we have been having the new brood of hens jumping the fence, the fence that we paid 12,000 dollars for to keep our animals safe from roaming dogs or whatever may come up on the property.

Early in the morning they want to venture out and tear up the flower beds, something I broke the old broods habit from...and these will learn too because Tip is relentless.

I taught her herding commands early on in her life with a soccer ball. She knows Away To Me, Come By. Walk Up and Lie Down is especially helpful to help control the speed in which she pushes the chickens back through the fence wire. She loves it, and it saves a lot of hollering and yelling and frustration to have her go out and tend to business. She probably does a better job at it than I ever could anyway. ;)

She lives to keep these chickens in check. We have gone out four times already this morning. Last chicken check they were all still in the fence...they will learn, Tip will be sure of it.

The picture above is of her pushing the last chicken back..this one was a stubborn gal, but she finally relented and went back.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Lets Talk About Derby

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See that hose? Yes, he had just had a bath. Why oh why do they like so much to roll right after a bath? It is kinda funny to see though...I have to laugh when he does it.

Lets talk horses today. I am a novice horse owner..I try to learn as much as I can before acquiring and animal, but as my farrier says, you never stop learning about horses. He also told me that anyone that owns a horse has to be crazy, and he has four of them, so go figure! LOL

It is coming up on one year that we have had Derby. When we got him he was fat, over a hundred pounds overweight. The owners I believe lied and told us he had never foundered. How can a horse that is kept at such a heavy weight not founder. I believe that he had. Once a horse founders, he will be forever damaged goods. His feet will never be the same, and you will have to really watch that horse closely, his eating, his feet, his weight. Not that you wouldnt with any horse, but especially one that has foundered.

When we got Derby he was an unruly, spoiled brat. He expected lots of treats and lots of food. If he didnt get what he wanted he could and did bite. He bit Shelby the second day we had him. He bit me several weeks later and kicked the fire out of my leg at one point. It took a lot of doing, but we have managed to make him into a reasonably mannered and behaved horse. A year ago I would not have trusted him around kids.

Derby foundered not long after we bought him. He didnt go down, but he was hurting and in pain. The vet was out with anti inflammatory drugs and pain meds and in two weeks we had him back to a somewhat normal place. He gets no grain, no cookies, an occasional carrot is okay for him to have. He no longer molests us and checks pockets constantly for treats. Unless you are new here. If you come over...he remembers...and will check your pockets. Cause new people might give in to him...nope sorry, not gonna happen.

We have plenty of acreage. Three of it is fenced pasture. He cannot enjoy it though because miniature horses do not know when to quit eating. You have to have them practically live on a rock pile as the farrier puts it. He has to stay in a small lotted area just for him. He has all his comforts, a barn, fresh water...but he would eat himself to death if he was out back, so he stays in his little area. The farrier says that it is an enormous area to him. I don't know about that. Either way, I have to keep him up, or he will eat and founder. Over the summer I think he has probably lost about 20 more pounds, which will make about 50 he has lost since we have had him. The farrier says he has to lose more. I am not feeding him anything now. He only nibbles on what grass he can get in his lot. It is a catch 22...if you give him more room...he gets more exercise...or so you would think...but they don't, he stands and eats all day. If I keep him up he sure isnt getting any exercise though is he. Lesser of two evils is to keep him up.

I have learned a hard lesson. The farrier and I talked for quite a while the other day. He said he wasnt telling me that Derby was on the edge of having to be put down or that I should get rid of him, but basicly I have damaged goods. He does, and always will have foot problems. This particular visit he said Derby has the beginnings of seedy toe. He also has fever rings on this front hooves. Seedy toe is where the white line in the foot is stretching. That is bad. Fever rings are from swelling and going back down, swelling and going back down. He says it doesnt necessarily mean he had a fever, just means there was swelling.

I cant feed him any less than he is eating now. That would be starving him. He isnt eating that much at all now. I moved the fence line and closed off a portion of his lot, made it smaller. So he has less to eat now than before. I needed to close that off anyway as he was scrubbing and scratching himself on the chicken pens and destroying them.

I went to Tractor Supply and bought some Hoof vitamin pellets, and some all around vitamin pellets. If he is only eating small amounts of grass he needs some vitamins, and anything that will help his hooves will be a good thing.

What have I gotten myself into. We have worked so hard to make him a good horse, and he is now, and it isnt his fault that his feet are messed up at six years old. But we will forever have to manage his feet. The farrier showed me a color chart of the four stages of laminitis, foundering. He is in that third stage. As in, he is not foundering NOW, but the result of him foundering before has made it to where he is permanently at that damaged stage.

I have told Shelby we will do everything we can to promote healthy hooves and a healthy horse. But I do not believe that he will make it for say twenty more years, not on those damaged feet. I told her that if he goes down, ever, I will not let him die like that. He will have to be put down.

Now I make it sound horrible I know. He really is a happy healthy boy, and I have a commitment to any animal that I get. I don't get rid of an animal just because I was stupid enough to buy a horse that had messed up feet and behavior problems to begin with. I know it was a big change and traumatic for him to be sold, and I will not sell him and make him go to another home and have to get used to those people all over again.

But, in retrospect, I wish I had just gotten a couple of goats. I like goats. But then, Derby was and is not for me, he is Shelbys horse. She takes good care of him every evening. She brushes him and sprays him with his fly spray. She talks to him, sings to him, loves him, hugs him and gives him kisses on the nose. They do love each other...so we will always have him, from now, until the day he dies.

We worked hard to make him a good horse...and I just can't let him go, and I can't ask Shelby to let him go either. She loves that horse.