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.



  1. Lovely photos! Our Ameracauna is a nut too! :)

  2. Nice pics! That grey hen is a beauty!
    I just read your post about stupid sheep; that was what I used to think too, now after having them for 5 years, I'm not so sure... some of them yes, but not all. I can honestly say that all my meat sheep are stupid. They have known me for a long time but they still think I'm going to eat them every time I approach. The tunis arent so bad, most of them are very friendly, and none of them act like pin-balls when I'm in the pen with them :)

  3. I really like Checkers, and IMO, what a wonderful mix. Bet she has a wonderful disposition.

    I really like reading your blog ... always interesting. I'm not far from you, as the crow flies, just outside of JC.

  4. Pat in TN: Checkers is a handful. I'm used to Rotties and she's about as opposite as you can get. The Rotties seem to only want to please. She wants to please ONLY herself.

    You tell her to be quiet and she shuts up...UNTIL you turn your back then she gives a little Woof just to irk.

    The cross is great, though. The Aussie seems to have un-intensified the Boerder a bit.

    Like I said, she's not keen on herding the sheep, but she loves to help put the horses out.

    As for her disposition...well, she's not the watch dog around here, that's for sure. She's convinced that anyone who comes by comes by mainly to see her and pet her and pay attention to her and...well, you get the idea.

    By JC do you mean Johnson City or Jefferson City? I'm not real familiar with the geography around here...can get to the walmart in Morristown and to the Coop in Rutledge. After that, it's a gamble. (laughs)

    Sittin.n.Spinnin: Maa-Maat seemed much smarter when she was first born. She can do tricks (clicker training) but if her mind is on food, forget everything. There's no way she's paying attention. I do have to admit that the little Black Welsh Mountain wether is pretty clever. Anytime the others get away from one of the customary grazing spots while they are out, he comes running and maat-ing to me to go "fix it". Will even run along in front of me to take me to where the others are being naughty.

    Little Merlin is definitely full of himself, that's for sure!

  5. O I just love the way you describe your animals. Makes them so so real and human-like. What fun!
    That Brahma chicken is just gorgeous, even with her scary raptor look. hehe

    Checkers is gorgeous, too :)


  6. Great chicken pics! I gotta go with the Brabanter for uniqueness...too cute! Had to laugh with The Idiot. I have this Silver Wynadott wanna be & in the morning his crowing is hysterical....guess one would call it a rooster going through puberty. Cracks me up at 5:30 in the morning....gosh knows I need humor that early in the morning!

  7. I like meeting the animals. The dog is beautiful! I'd love to take some of those chickens off your hands but we have nowhere to keep them yet.

  8. Sorry, I didn't even think of Jefferson City ... I'm outside of Johnson City, not far from the TN/NC line.

    I am used to Dobe's, having had them for years and years, and they, like Rottie's, have that need to please. I now have a Boxer mix, and WOW, that is a total about face from a Dobe. Sounds a lot like your Checkers ... he wanting to please ONLY himself and wanting to get that last 'woof' in!!! UGH!!! Each day is an experience with this guy!

  9. I love Miss Brooks. Yes, she does look as if a pair of reading glasses would complete her over all appearance. Rachael is lovely and reminds me of one of my first and very favorite Jacob sheep, Ruth. Ruth had scurs and was a bit small..but the sweetest Jacob I have ever had and I still have a lot of Jacobs.

    Ruth used to adopt baby lambs she felt were not attended to by their Moms well enough, even while raising her own.

    Are you a professional photographer ? The quality of your pictures is outstanding. Thank-you, KathyB.

  10. Thank you for the introductions to your animals! It was great fun!!

    Checkers is so pretty. My English Shepherd, "Bellamica" is like that ~ always getting that last, little "woof" in as I turn to walk away. There's no way she ever lets me get the last word in. It's a good thing she's my pal and beginning to actually help me with the sheep....I forgive her. ;-)


  11. KathyB: Thank you so much for the comment about my pictures. I'm very, very far from a professional but am trying to learn. My favorite thing is trying to get good shots of the animals...shots that show a bit of their personality. Your Ruth sounds like a real little gem. I wish Rachael were that sweet...she's pretty much a scatter-brain. One moment she's calm and the next she acts as though you were about to eat her.

    NancyK I left a message on one of your blog posts about English Shepherds. Very interested in the breed as our Bessie (rottie) is getting up there in years and her health is going downhill. Are you happy with EngShepherds?

    Pat in TN: You really aren't far away from us at all! People usually look at me like I'm insane when I say Rotties very easy to train. They just don't believe it!

    Christy: Thanks so much! It's so fun to share the animals!

    Kristi: Aren't those first trys at crowing hilarious! Now if the ladies would just start laying!

    Twinville: I'm afraid sometimes I spend far too much time with the animals, but then again, they are nicer than a lot of humans out there (laughs)

  12. Pam,
    Finally had the pleasure of visiting your blog and very much enjoyed meeting your animals :)Checkers is a beauty and I love all those chickens! I look forward to visiting again.

  13. Checkers is very cool looking! My first dog was the same cross, but she was black and white like the border collie. She was the best - lived for pleasing me and was my best bud growing up.

    I love Miss Brooks - she is a riot!

  14. Love your dog, we have Aussies, too. We rotationally graze our cattle, so we don't have to use the dogs for herding, but they have the right attitude to be around cows.

    Nice blog, but I can't remember where I clicked from ;)

  15. Hi Pamela, Nice to meet another Pamela.
    and some of the animals and critters on your farm. I understand about too many chickens.
    You really have a nice blog. Wonderful pictures.
    Thanks for visiting my site and the comment.(We never saw the owl again in the hole in the tree. We have seen the king snake and his skin several times this summer there)
    Have a great weekend.

  16. Your chickens are fabulous! We at one point had 24, but we're now down to 20... which is good b/c one day I'm hoping our chickens will go broody so that we can have new baby chicks... and Mr. C had just about reached his limit with 24.

    It ws nice meeting the animals on your farm!

  17. Your photos are so beautiful. I think you need a Shetland Sheep for the selfish reason that I would love to see the photos you would take of it! Do you sell your photos or make a calendar of rural life?

  18. Well, I think you need a Shetland Sheep so you'd know what a Smart Sheep is like - Your pictures are beautiful - what kind of camera do you ues? I love all your chicken pictures - I grew up loving the tv show Our Miss Brooks, and your Miss Brooks looks just like her LOL - - Keep up with wondderful stories. T.

  19. Hi Pamela, just found your comment on my blog and came over to visit. I am so glad I did! I just love all of the pictures. Enjoyed visiting! blessings, Kathleen

  20. I would have replied earlier, but all of your comments about my pictures were so nice that my head swelled up and just flat exploded. :)

    I use a Canon 30D and just love it. It's the easiest camera I've ever used. For most of the images, I use a 100mm Canon Macro lens--the "no zoom" on it means I have to do a lot of walking around, but it's razor sharp.

    ARGH! Don't tempt me with those Shetland sheep. I have to keep repeating to myself that I have enough...I don't need any more...4 is the perfect more sheep! :)

  21. I've always liked chickens, but I'm a goner now that we have four of our own and visited MO family with a WHOLE lot more. We are going to add a Welsummer at the end of this month; I'm excited! Oh, and my Easter-Egger isn't dingy at all; she's our favorite. Unfortunately, she seems to lack the blue-egg gene; if I were generous I would call her eggs "pink." But with the Welsummer, we'll have a lovely range - from pink to tan to reddish-brown.

  22. Hey there, Pamela!
    Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog... and yes, I know exactly where you are- in fact, I was up your way this past Saturday... my Hubby took his antique tractor to Ritter Farms for their plow day!! Small world! (I'll post some pictures of the plow day soon.)I live in Andersonville- about an hours' drive from the CO-OP in Rutledge.
    I love your blog- your pictures are fabulous!! I think Jacob sheep are so pretty.. do you shear them yourself? I have two VERY spoiled Suffolk. I can't help but love them. LOL
    Good to hear from you... please come visit my blog anytime!!

  23. Those are great pictures. I love the descriptions of the chickens, especially "the idiot". Har har! My husband would be in heave if I would let him get such a variety of different chickens. We have Ameraucana's, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Islands Reds, Leghorns and one Barred Rock. No roosters either. We got rid of those a few years ago.

  24. I love your pictures! They're all gorgeous animals!

    Greetings from West Africa,