Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Princess Maa-Maat

A few weeks ago, I was in the barn cleaning stalls when it started sprinkling. It was nothing much, just a few spits and spurts to tease us into thinking we would finally get some decent rain. When I went outside to empty the muck bucket, I could hear Maa-Maat crying. The other three lambs were over at the side of the barn grazing and making the most of their time out of the stall, but not Maa-Maat. I looked all over before I finally found her standing standing in the doorway of the arena bawling her little heart out.

Poor thing. Every time she'd stick her head out the door, a rain drop would hit her, and she'd jump back in. I called her, and she came running as fast as she could, shaking her head and doing that little uh-uh-uh she does when she's being a baby. She spent the rest of the morning inside the barn with me and refused to step a foot outside. Even when I'd go out to empty the muck bucket, she'd stand at the door and cry until I'd come back.

By the afternoon, the rain was long gone, but she remembered. When I let the lambs out of the stall, the other three took off outside like they normally do, but not Maa-Maat. She stopped at the door and stood looking up at the sky until she was absolutely convinced she wasn't going to get wet. Then and only then did she tip-toe out.

She may not be the most gorgeous lamb around. And she may not be the smartest. But one thing's for certain, she is the most spoiled.

The Princess Maa-Maat

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Out and About

(Note: I have discovered that if you click on the image, you can see a larger version.)

Wanted to show a few of the animals around here this week. First of all, here's Checkers, a Border Collie-Aussie Sheperd cross. She's a bit over a year old and no bigger than a minute. Although she has no interest in herding the sheep--she'd rather clean their ears--she does help move the horses.

She's a bit annoyed with me at this point because instead of paying attention to her, I've been wasting time taking pictures of....

The Wash Stall Toad Now I don't know for sure if this is the same one that we've had for four summers now, but every year there's a toad that takes up residence in the wash stall and every year she's bigger. I like to think that she's the same.

On the way back up to the house, I stopped at the chicken yard. We have far too many chickens and are going to have to cull them when winter comes. (I have found good homes for the culls that don't involve any stewing pots.

When we decided to get some chickens, we wanted about a dozen or so. My husband said he remembered ordering chicks once when he was about 8 or 9 years old and not many of them survived. With this in mind, we figured there would be an attrition rate of somewhere around 50%. So, we ordered almost 30 chicks--28 to be precise. This was not a very good plan as all but the second little cream Brabanter survived.

On top of that, when they arrived, I was in the tack stall carefully counting them out as I put them in the inflatible wading pool we used for a chick pen. I was about halfway through when one of the cats sneaked in and jumped right in the middle. Pandemonium! The box the chicks were in flipped over and chicks scattered everywhere. I got the cat before she could get any of the chicks, but the counting was definitely over.

As a result, Mr. R or Mr. Roo or The Idiot--he goes by many names--may be a sexing error or he may be a packing peanut. Who is to know? Even he seems to be a bit confused about it all.

He's an Americauna and, like all my chickens, a bit over 4 months old. He doesn't crow much in the mornings, but he really lets it rip in the evenings--hence the name The Idiot. I'm thinking he may be going to a new home when he matures as we aren't planning on having any chicks. We have plenty and then some!

This is one of the two dark Brahma pullets. I really like the pattern on her back. Doesn't it look like silver filigree? Also, check out that raptor look she's got going.

Here is Miss Brooks. She's the only surviving cream Brabanter. She is exactly how she looks she would be. Although she's quite a bit smaller than the others, she's very bossy and into everything. She's always the first to try out anything new. I call her Miss Brooks because she reminds me of a very efficient yet very officious secretary. All she's missing are the reading glasses dangling off a string around her neck.

To end, here's an American Dagger moth caterpillar. It was only about an inch and a half long, but really decked out. Don't those four little feet look like they are tap dancing?

Wait! I forgot someone!

This is Rachael, my Jacob ewe lamb. She's about 5 months old. Unfortunately she has scurs instead of horns. One of them is quite large and insists on curving the wrong way. It's about time to trim it again, but all in all, it's not bad. Gives her a bit of a unicorn look which goes quite nicely with her scatty behavior.

I swear, there is no telling what Rachael is going to do at any given moment. She can be standing beside me getting scratches just as calm as can be then all of a sudden jump in the air and bound away as though scared for her life. As for the scur, being as I'm a bit on the clumsy side, perhaps it's better that she doesn't have horns. It wouldn't be long at all before I managed to put out my eye or worse on one of them.

Hope you enjoyed meeting some of the animals around here. Thanks so much for looking.