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Are We Done Yet?


Apparently not. If you haven’t been reading about the antics of Cooper The Bull and his friends, Bonnie and Clyde, go read it now. We’ll wait.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~INTERMISSION ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The more I thought about being threatened, the more upset I became. There is something about this level of hostility that, while I don’t understand it at all, makes me even more worried than I was to begin with.

You let your bulls and cows run loose, but threaten me when I say I’m going to defend myself? That, seriously, is a special kind of cuckoo. And not the happy, cheery {redundant, I know, but I want to make sure you understand it} cuckoo clock birdie kind of cuckoo.

What could he have possibly thought he would accomplish by coming over and confronting me? How many times do I have to say, “We would not HAVE a problem if you had your animals contained!”?

I seriously doubt he would have had the guts to come over if my hubby was home.

I really don’t give a rip WHO you think you are. You are not going to come over on MY property and threaten me. ESPECIALLY when YOUR OWN SON was nearly trampled the day before AND has an arm swollen to three times its normal size. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know that then, or I would have been inclined to point that out, too.

Sheesh. Some people.

I’ve talked to a whole lot of people who’ve all said the same thing: he thinks no one can tell him what to do, and he can push around whoever he wants to.

Well. Ahem.

Blame it on my ignorance of not knowing who the “important” people are around here, but I don’t give a rip who he *thinks* he is. He is no one of importance to me. And given the way he doesn’t take care of his animals, I can say without hesitation or reservation that I am GLAD he doesn’t think kindly of me or like me, because I have ZERO desire to be in that class with him or his kin.

I find the older I get, the less I give a rip about much of anything. You do the right thing {as in, keep your animals contained and freaking feed them} and I’ll have no quarrel with you. Do right and leave me alone, and you won’t hear a peep out of me because, {let’s say it together, boys and girls,} “I don’t give a rip.” Life is too darn short to be dealing with the amount of snot and feces some people are able to generate. And I am sick and tired of dodging both of them.

In addition to my concern over being shot by a person with clear mental issues, I worry about what they are going to do to my animals. It wouldn’t surprise me to find some downed fencing. A burned down coop. With that kind of irrational crazy, there’s no telling what all they would do. In a perfect world, I’d get one for the whole family, including the middle-finger-flipping teenagers.

Since I don’t live in a perfect world, I did the only real thing I could think of to do- I went to talk to the county magistrate and got myself a court date to get a restraining order. Apparently, out here, in order to get a restraining order, they have to issue a felony arrest warrant. Not quite what I had intended, but hey, if it gets his cows put back away, so be it.

Two days later, Bonnie and Clyde are still out. They’ve been hanging around my mailbox. Animal control said they would file charges, and this is not the first time.

I’m beginning to wonder if anything will ever get done. At some point, it’s almost normal to see them all over, and then there’s a jolt of, “Hey! That’s not right!” that reminds you that they are prone to charging.

A dear friend, who is also an awesome artist, suggested I write a children’s book about Cooper and his misadventures. She offered to illustrate. Although I don’t have her illustrations yet, I do have the first draft of the story and some pictures. Let me know what you think. :mrgreen:

 

The Mis Adventures of Cooper the Bull {and Friends}

Once upon a time, there was a bull named Cooper. Cooper was sad.

Cooper was sad because his friend, another bull named Frank, had died, many months ago. Cooper was all alone. No one came to see him to give him food. Cooper was so, so sad.

One day, someone brought him a horse. Oh, he was so happy! He chased and chased and chased that horse! And then he chased her some more. What fun!

A few weeks later, the people brought another horse. The first horse was very happy. She had a friend!

But poor Cooper, his happiness was gone. :cry: The horse has a friend, but he had none.

Soon, it was winter. The two horses and Cooper were cold and hungry. The grass had stopped growing in the pasture. The people never came to bring them hay.

One day, Cooper decided he’d had enough! He saw the green fields around him that the farmer had planted, and he was hungry.

Could he get to the field? Would the short fence keep him in?

Hooray! The fence let him out! Very skinny Cooper was so, so happy! Now he could eat!

Yum! Yum!

Cooper learned there were a lot of puddles and a nice beaver dam nearby. This meant he didn’t have to be in his pen to get water.

Cooper was happy! He ate, and ate, and ate. He drank, and drank, and ate some more.

Cooper started to feel really good. He wasn’t skinny any more! His ribs and hips stopped showing. He started to make more muscle. He started feeling very strong.

The people didn’t care that Cooper was out. He roamed, and roamed. He visited the crazy lady across the street, in her yard. He had fun chasing her dogs. He had fun walking in the road and scaring the people who drove by.

Because Cooper was out of the pen, the people decided to give the horses some new friends. The people brought Bonnie and Clyde to the pen. They didn’t bring any food, though.

Bonnie and Clyde were sad. They were hungry, too. Why was Cooper allowed to be outside eating, but not them?

Well, they started to think it might be fun to be outside with Cooper. Then they could eat, too!

And, they could explore! They explored the woods. They explored the road.

A mean man came. Together with the lady and her girls, they put Bonnie and Clyde away.

Bonnie and Clyde weren’t sad, though. They knew a secret. Do you know what their secret was?

Shhhhh! The fence couldn’t keep them inside.

So, Bonnie and Clyde stepped right over the fence again. The explored the woods. They explored the road.

They explored until they found the bridge by the interstate.

ZIP! ZIP! ZIP! Those funny machines are fast! And loud!

The same mean man came, and moved them with his funny looking loud machine. He scared them so they would move away from the bridge by the interstate.

They knew he was going to try to make them go back in the pen. No sir, they’re not going back! Cooper doesn’t have to go back, so why should they?

Bonnie and Clyde ran into the woods to join Cooper.

One of the people got close to Cooper, but he hurt the man’s arm so the man would let go.

Cooper liked his freedom!

After that, the people drove by, but couldn’t catch Cooper. They were afraid of Cooper. Bonnie and Clyde like their freedom, too. They can all eat, even though the people finally brought hay, hoping to entice them to the pen.

But they’re not dumb, no sir! They’re not going to fall for that, especially when the good stuff is outside their pen

To this day, Bonnie, Clyde, and Cooper are happily outside the pen.

They eat. They sleep. They can chase the lady’s dogs if they want to. They can drink water from the beaver dam and big puddles.

And they can say hello to the people in their big, loud, funny machines, as they meet them on the road.

The End.

 

 

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Shall we start a betting pool on when or if we think the rogue bovine will get captured and returned to the pen? Anyone?  :/


NOT. Wowee.

I’m inclined to finally write this up, because it’s hard to know who knows what and what part of the story they know. Get your pocorn and your beverage now. You might also want to go to the bathroom before we start.

The important thing to know before we begin is that not only am I armed, I am ready. And I have used my good friend just the other night to fire a warning shot, because I really don’t want any harm coming to it, but it really can’t be here, threatening me, my kids, the garbage men, the people driving on the road, my dogs, my chickens, etc etc etc.

You may recall that we moved here about a year and half ago, after living in hell the NM desert. We had not planned on buying something before we sold our other house, but well, we found this one, and that’s all she wrote.

When we moved in, there were 5 abandoned horses in our front yard; one of them severely emaciated, starving, recently foaled and nursing both the new colt and 2 year old filly. As it turns out, the baby, renamed to Doodlebug, was actually born October 30; we closed November 8. {not sure why my times in that post were so wonky.}

It took us a while, but Halo did finally get rehabilitated and is now completely ride able, although she still struggles to add that final 100 lbs. {Pay attention, because this is all part of what’s been going on these days………………..}

Contrary to some popular local belief, the horses that were abandoned actually WERE on our property. And, we didn’t steal them or otherwise “take them over,”- we fed a horse for whom death was imminent. In NM, not reporting was a felony; if you knew of a starving horse and did nothing, you were also criminally liable. And, we actually DO have a bill of sale for every one of our horses. :D

It took about a week of living here to figure out that not only were none of them being fed, but they had NO water. So we fed her. And so it began.

The homesite here has a really rich history. It used to belong to a Civil War Colonel {who is buried in the woods with his horse} and the state has the historical the he letters wrote to his wife on how to harvest their crops while he was at war. There was a Revolutionary War battle in the front pasture, from what we’ve been told.

The house is not that old, of course; it was built in the mid 1990s. The man who had it built was a very well-educated and prominent public servant in this tri-county area; one of the leaders in the state from what we hear. When we got the house, it was bank owned, thanks to the downward decline resulting from drug abuse.

It’s horribly sad. He lost his wife, his kids, his practice, and finally the home he had built- because of drugs. And basically every single room in the house had serious blood spatter in it. vomit

My daughter had a pretty serious accident on Magic because of a drug drop in the barn. {Drug dealers sat and watched, as she exercised the horse; sped over to the barn; finally getting out, running in, and then running back out, and revving the engine to speed away. This spooked the horse, who took off back to the paddock and dumped my daughter before trampling her arm. Thank God nothing was broken or that she wasn’t seriously hurt.}

Last summer, my son found a container of syringes. Some of them were used. Some were half full. Some of them had a bloody mixture in them. So, the sheriff’s department took them at some point. Since then, several other syringes and parts have turned up, thanks to the rain and the chickens……

During the first few months, we met pretty much every one who lives out this way. I think some of it was folks being neighborly; some of it just curiosity. The house and this man had a distinct reputation, and it’s not surprising folks were interested in the house and who bought it.

Part of the family that welcomed us was one branch that had a daughter a little younger than my oldest daughter, and they became fast friends. While they lived in the bigger town nearby, grandpa and numerous aunt/uncles/cousins all live right around here.

The girl got a horse. The girl. Not her parents. Her. She was in charge of taking care of the horse- feeding, etc etc, and paying for feed, etc. While they did buy some grain, all we ever saw them feed regularly were breakfast cereals, like Fruit Loops, and then broccoli. They also don’t believe in the farrier. Apparently, her dad was going to trim hooves, because he watched a video on YouTube.banghead :shock:

Ahem. Ya.

By this time, they were up to 3 horses; only one of which could really be ridden. And, my daughter and this girl were no longer friends, because my daughter wasn’t able to stand seeing the neglect going on with the horses.

And then it was getting close to Christmas. I came home, to find the girl sitting in my driveway.  Could we help her, she wanted to know, figure out what to do to get her horses better? They couldn’t get them to keep any weight on them. Her mother made her come over because they knew we had rehabbed a horse, and knew what we were doing.

We went over with the girl, and I shot my vet some pictures. I relayed the information she gave me. I gave them her number. We went home and got them water they could actually drink.

 

 

 

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Ya. I know. We monitored, but at some point week or two later, per the advice of my vet, I called animal control. In the meantime, I had gotten a hold of an US Equine Rescue League investigator. She found a specialized rescue for them, and had a vet and transport on stand-by, waiting for them, all of which was communicated. The point is- they weren’t feeding them, and the odd occasions that they fed, they weren’t fed the right stuff.

Animal control issued a mandate to have the vet go out on and give them a written plan of care, which was to be shown to animal control. The daughter said they had not seen a vet, but had talked to one. The story they gave animal control was that they had seen a vet. He called and checked with the vet, who said he had seen the horse. Maybe it happened. Either way, it was enough that animal control couldn’t press charges after they shot and killed them, even though they had instructions NOT to.

The mother FBed my daughter that weekend with a message saying, “I hope you’re happy. Now we have to put them down. I hope you hear the gunshots when they go off!” :shock: The daughter posted we needed to go back to NM; the son {senior in high school} posted we were psycho and needed to go back to NM where we came from.

And, just yesterday, the kids were coming down the road {and now that they moved the the horse back to where they were, which we’ll get to, they have no actual reason to go flying down my dirt road} with 4 of them in the car, and they all flipped up off. :lol: But hey, they’re praying for us. :lol:

Now, in the midst of this crap, when they bought the second gelding, they moved their Tennessee Walking Horse across the street from us; dumping it in the bull pen. Yep.

I don’t think I need to say this, but they didn’t feed her over there, either. I have pictures of when she broke out and came in my side pasture to eat the grass, and given the pulled hay in my new hay bales, it surely looks like she got a late night snack or two, too. Honestly, I don’t begrudge the horse for breaking out in the winter to get herself some food. Hungry animals are inclined to find food when they’ve gone too long without.

So let’s talk about the bull pen….. when we moved in, Moo, a nice white heifer, was in there. At some point, she died, and they replaced her with two bulls.

Wait- let’s back up- the bull pen over there is leased by a different branch of this same family. The folks with the cows are some kind of cousin/uncle of the mother with the horses. The water for the pen comes from our well- and we don’t own the land. We are also not compensated for use of the water or the electricity used by my well. Because I know these people won’t bring their animals water and would literally let them thirst to death, we have graciously not capped that line so they can continue to use it. Some thanks, eh?

Anyhow, Moo died, they left her in the pasture to rot a while, and then there were two new bulls in there. Not only do they not feed them regularly, if at all, their water tank isn’t clean. But no matter; at least they have something. A few months down the road, one of the bulls died, preventing the other from taking shelter because it died IN the shelter and completely blocked the access. After a few weeks, the stench was unbearable, and bit of flesh would float over on a windy day. The dogs loved it; me- not so much.

So, the bull and the one horse have been in there a while. After several weeks, the bull stopped trying to kill the horse, and all was well. Now it’s winter, and not only is there no grass in the bull pen, but they have dumped ANOTHER horse in there. I’m pretty sure the junky hay from my hay field that was sitting there when we moved got taken over there. It was moldy, because it had sat out in the weather for over a year.

During the really cold weather we had, the hay ran out. And wasn’t replaced. At. All.

The guy with the cows- has a LOOOONNNNGGGGG history of starving his animals, and letting them run amok, including getting on the interstate, etc.

About a month ago, the remaining bull decided he’d had enough and skipped town. I am not sure where he got out, but he did. To this day, he remains at large. I took a picture a day later, when he was still out, and posted it on FB, more as a warning to my neighbors who drive this road to beware. A black bull- just like the black horse {which I also finally called on several days after she had been running loose- no animal should get hit by a car because of stupid  negligent owners, imo}- at night, is a road hazard.

I had forgotten one of the aunts {sister to the mother who was nasty; aunt to the girl who the parents considered responsible for the horses} was on my FB friend’s list and not blocked like the others. And wow. First I was told to mind my own business. Then I was told I was being “unneighborly” and a whole host of other things. This after the father {horses} came to my house to threaten us and tell us to “stay off my land” which still makes no sense. He was a bit thrown off by the dogs and my 6 ft, well-muscled husband, who handled that quite marvelously. So, the aunt and I went back and forth a bit, and still, the bull remained out. I wonder if they realize that FB uses dates…… and of course, my phone date stamps, too. It took the uncle {great uncle to the girl?} 3 days before he even meandered over here to look and see if the bull was in or not.

In the past week, I have had the sheriff’s department out 4 times and have had 6 deputies. Today was the first repeat officer, though.

I’ve called several times on that darn bull. 2 weeks ago, not all of my trash got emptied because the bull was right there. So, the county has that documented. Because the third of those people’s horse was in the bull pen, the animal control officer doing the case has been aware of that part of the situation, including the one’s escape before the gelding was added to the pen.

Animal control officer told me to call the sheriff after hours, so they could come and document the bull was out. So that’s what I’ve been doing. The bull gets near the road where they can see- I call.  The bull gets on my property- I call. Last week, the young bull and heifer were walking down the middle of the road. So I called- 2 deputies came and saw them out. One went to go tell the one guy to put his cows away.

In the meantime, our friend, D, came and had to go around them in the road, so he came back and we helped him put them away. The following night, when we were grilling, my brother came in and said the bull was in our side pasture. I wanted to get a picture to document for the sheriff; he got his car lights on him, which then agitated the bull. I got in my truck, shined my brights on him, and essentially pushed him back over into the field adjacent to the bull pen. After I called the sheriff. So, that was the first meeting for the deputy that came again today {deputy #3}. One of his first comments that night was, “I’m so sick and tired of putting “X’s” cows away. He needs to keep his damn animals penned.”

Why, yes, yes he does.

Later that night, after we had already gotten the two put away, the horse part of the family came to help put the bull away, toddler in tow. They let the horses out, which promptly came over into my hay field and began to eat. Obviously, I didn’t call then, and they did get the horses put back.

Sunday, the horses got out and came to visit my horses. They knocked part of my fence loose, and ran all the way down to the end of the road, to the state highway. I called the sheriff. I know you are shocked by that. I mean, I guess I figure if I’ve been accused of having the sheriff on “speed dial,” I might as well earn it, right? :lol:

While I was on the phone, negligent cow person X came by the bull pen, and then drove all through my fields and yard, yelling at me to “Get me a rope!”

Um, excuse me? You come to put your animals away (they are in his bull pen, of course, and he is leasing the pasture) and you expect me to give you one of my lead ropes? Get your own dang rope.

Fortunately, about that time, two deputies come speeding up at the end of the driveway. Had their timing been any later, I kid you not, I would most likely be in the hospital; maybe even dead. Because at that moment, as they were getting out of their cars, some guy in a tractor comes barreling through the hay field, jumps out of the tractor and comes yelling at me about calling the sheriff every time his animals get out, and waving his fists. The one deputy went and physically pushed him back {they couldn’t arrest him because he hadn’t gotten his hands on me} while the even larger deputy took us and we stood along side of him, standing with his arms crossed.

The one deputy asked me who the hostile belligerent dude was, and I told him I had no idea. I really don’t. I have no idea who that guy is. Is it guy Y, guy Xs son, who came in my paddock to mount his fence charger and left my gates open while doing so, to have me come screaming out of my house, “What are you doing?! Close the gate!” and then who proceeded to tell me my driveway and all of that area was public property and he should know because he used to work for the county? {To which I replied, “Ah, no it’s not. That is my private property, according to my lawyer. I don’t care if you go in to plug in your charger, but did it never occur to you to knock on my door and ask or otherwise let me know you needed in there?” “I didn’t know anyone was home.” “Really? You couldn’t see my big white truck parked right in front of you?” :roll:} Or is it some other crazy member of that family? I really don’t know.

At some point, they followed the three guys (guy X had another guy with him) back across the street, where they proceeded to eventually collect the horses and put them back in. Now, Cooper the bull {as in, D.B. Cooper :lol: } was still at large, which I confirmed later that night.

I heard two of my dogs frantically barking, and Oreo was herding something that wasn’t cooperating. I could see her trying to move it away from the house, but whatever it was, was not cooperating. Then I saw the tree in the driveway median shaking, and I figured they had treed a coon or something, until the bull moved INTO the yard; past the closer leg of the driveway, and settled in at the bottom of the porch steps. I was seriously afraid he was going to come up the steps!

I yelled at the girls to get the dogs brought in, and I went to get my good friend, Smithy Wesson. Smithy is a .38 special, and the last time I brought him out was when there was a guy parked at the end of the road for hours in the wee early hours of the morning started walking up my driveway. Turns out, he was coming to see the guy who used to live here- and hasn’t for a year and a half. Once he saw Smithy, though, and Oreo, the ninja snappy dog, he slowly backed out of the driveway.

So, with Smithy out, and my girls yelling not to kill the bull {which I can do, legally, if anything on my property threatens my person or my livestock, etc}, I cracked off a round in his general direction. It was pitch black at that point, and my flood lights don’t reach that far, but because I couldn’t see a carcass, he obviously moved off.

Yesterday, I thought they had finally moved all the animals, because not a one was left in the bull pen. They did move the horse back to Death Row, as we call it, but the cows were gone. As it turns out, they left the fence open, thinking maybe the Cooper would willingly go back in and join Bonnie and Clyde.

Do I even need to tell you what happened? banghead

Well, then, boys and girls, let’s all say the answer together: “The cows got out.”

Yes, indeed. Bonnie and Clyde got out and joined Cooper on his grand adventure.

This resulted in them getting about a mile down the side road, next to the interstate that the bridge on that road goes over.  And pretty close to where friend D lives, who was *furious,* after having put them away already once in the last week. I was visiting a neighbor when he called, but when I got home, he was over across the street with guy X, giving him a piece of his mind. My oldest heard a few choice snips of the conversation, but D reiterated that Cooper had been out for a month, which of course, guy X refuses to believe. Guy X accused me of tampering with his fence charger.

Oh yes, that’s me, all right. :roll: I’m gonna turn off his electric fence so I can deal with his bull crashing around my property and preventing my trash from getting picked up. That’s right, I have no problem with his bull trampling my dogs and threatening my girls and myself. :roll: {and just to clarify in the event you aren’t quite sure, that is complete sarcasm. He needs to keep his animals penned up.}

And that brings us to this afternoon. Let me tell you something I’m pretty sure they have figured out and thought they could use to their advantage- Hunny is currently away for work. {He’s ready to bail me out, though.}  I am pretty sure they thought they could come over and confront and intimidate me.

Did I mention I have a good friend, Smithy Wesson? Before I went down to talk to guy X, I got him on my hip. Apparently, guy X has three dogs, all of which were with him, and his German Shepherd had tangled with my older border collie, who sent him cowering. Here are the high points of the conversation:

He said some lady called on the horses and cows being out today.

“Nope, not me today. I haven’t called today. I called Sunday, though, when the horses were out.”

He said I needed to stop calling.

“Nope. I am going to call every single time I see them out.” And I explained my reasons why. “Keep your animals penned, and I won’t need to call.”

Then he tried to tell me I didn’t own any land, and I told him, “Oh hell yes, I do. You better check the county register. I own close to 4 acres of this land, including part of that pasture, and the hay field,  and this, and this, and this, and this. And even if I didn’t, I still live here, and what’s happening with the rest of the acreage is between me and T. You have no say in any of that, and it’s none of your business.”

Then he said the bull hadn’t been out long; and of course, I set the record straight and let him know that the sheriff’s deputies had seen my documentation.

Then he said the situation was all my fault because I said a few cuss words- nevermind that he said all of them first, or that friend D had said the exact same things to him last night. But oh yes, my language is why his animals were out. :roll: And he tried telling me I turned his fence off- “Yeah, right. You think I don’t want my trash picked up? Or that I want to deal with large animals running loose? That is just nuts.”

When he said that bull had never come on my side of the road, I replied, “How would you know? You’re never around. Do you want to see my pictures? The deputies have.”

“And I’ll tell you- I’ve been told repeatedly by all of them and by Animal Control that I am well within my legal rights to shoot any of them, if they are on my property and I feel threatened. You had better believe I will shoot them, because I will. I will drop that bull if he’s over here. Enough is enough.”

Pay attention, kids, because his response right here is why I’m going to magistrate court in the morning.

He replied, “If you drop him, I’ll drop you.”

“Wait- did you just say you were going to shoot me if I shot your bull on my property?!”

“Uh huh. You’re the one walking around with a gun on your hip.”

“You’re darn right I am! I’ve 2 bulls and a heifer running around loose, chasing my dogs and crashing around my property! I have every right to defend myself, and I am SURELY going to. “

There was a little more back and forth, but it wasn’t much before I told him to get off my property. Then I called the sheriff’s office again {you know, the whole threatening to shoot me bit} and animal control. I was on the phone with animal control when officer #3 came back again. I apprised him of the situation and got his suggestion to go to magistrate court for a restraining order.

I’m pretty sure that family thinks I am looney tunes, and I am fine with that. Maybe they’ll think I’m so darn crazy they’ll finally get the bulls and heifer put away. Ya think??

As you can see, the gene pool on this family is something else. When they called the sheriff a few months ago to report “6 horses on the highway,” the deputy grandson of our dear friends on the corner, who also just happens to live across said two-lane state highway, came by on his way home, because we were the only ones around there that he knew of that had that many horses. And you know what? I was appreciative.

No, my horses weren’t out. They had been, about 2 hours prior, standing in the driveway and eating the grass in the yard. For a total of a whopping 15 minutes. The hurricane force gusts had blown over a section of fencing, which we propped back up and put them back in.

And still, I was appreciative that they came to check. I mean, if your animals were out, wouldn’t you want to know? By the time he got there, it was getting dark. I was still outside, finishing with chickens, but we went and counted heads. He could see all the horses contentedly eating hay, right by the fence.

I cannot get my mind around their particular mindset. I just can’t. D told them that he drives that way to get home, and guy X told him to go around- find another way home. What the heck?! Guy X has starving and escaping cows in a 3 county area, and clearly, the counties are not talking to each other, because if they were, he’d have numerous felonies pending. This has been such an ongoing and continuous problem for so many years, that it seems likes folks have given up on calling, because it doesn’t change anything.

But shoot. I guess since I have the sheriff’s office on speed dial, I might as well use my finger to push that button if I see their animals out after hours.

I think I may title this drama, “As the Silo Turns.” And to think- someone actually accused me a few weeks ago of being bored because I’m on a farm {in regards to some comments I made in a FB group, of course, lol}. :lol:

And now, boys and girls, you are all caught up. Stay tuned, because I’m sure there will be more, unfortunately. *sigh*

 

 

Fermented Feed FAQ


Bear with me, because this will likely be looonnnngggg. :D

So, I’m still using. I’ve also been involved with a FB community for chicken folk.

What? Don’t look at me like that. You knew this would prolly happen. :lol:

So anyhow, I’m blabbering online, and invariably, the issue of fermenting chicken food comes up. Not surprisingly, many of the same questions get asked over and over and over. And for good reason. There is a link out there that many people start with, that has some misinformation going on. So those are some points that folks get confused on, and actually seem to create more questions.

In the interest of keeping fermenting chicken feed SIMPLE, here are some answers to some of the questions I see asked the most. You’re welcome. :D  ;)

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Fermented food? Huh? What is it?

“Fermentation in food processing is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable. The science of fermentation is also known as zymology or zymurgy.” {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermentation_in_food_processing}

Stop right there. If you’ve read more, take your mental white-out and purge that next ditty bit from your brain. You are not making alcohol. I repeat: YOU ARE NOT MAKING ALCOHOL.  If you want the complicated, sciency answer, leave me a comment and I’ll give it to you. But this is going to be a long post and I don’t need people falling asleep yet. :D

 

Why?

Why not? :lol: No, seriously.

1) Superior nutrition  

Fermenting creates new vitamins; specifically B vitamins, and new nutrients. Some of those nutrients are amino acids. The soaking and fermenting also breaks down the anti-nutrients and toxins in the grains that prevent the digestion of available nutrients.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/x2184e/x2184e06.htm

Quote:

 Bacterial fermentation produces lysine, often increasing its concentration by many fold and making grains nearly a “complete protein”, i.e. one that contains the ideal balance of essential amino acids as do animal proteins (11, scroll down to see graph). Not very many plant foods can make that claim. Fermentation also increases the concentration of the amino acid methionine and certain vitamins.
 
 
In addition to the reduction in toxins and anti-nutrients afforded by soaking and cooking, grinding and fermentation goes much further. Grinding greatly increases the surface area of the grains and breaks up their cellular structure, releasing enzymes which are important for the transformation to come. Under the right conditions, which are easy to achieve, lactic acid bacteria rapidly acidify the batter.”  {http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/645057/fermented-feeds-anyone-using-them/2220

So, your birds are going to be healthier.

2) Less waste

This alone was appealing to me, not including the expansion of the feed, so it goes further than dry feed. The feed isn’t kicked all over the ground and lost to the subterranean trolls that hover and wait for scratched out nuggets of goodness.

I’m seriously still saving AT LEAST 2/3 on my feed bill, even with adding 14 more babies.

3) Less stinky poo

It’s always about the poop, isn’t it? :lol: Not only is the poo less stinky, it’s more solid. Cecal poops are always going to be cecal poops, so we can’t get rid of those. BUT. The other ones- even more solid, and drier. This makes cleaning *a lot* easier because less the cecals, you aren’t dealing with a ton of smearage.

I haven’t noticed the no smell like some report, but I do agree that they definitely don’t smell as much. And guinea poop, OH MY STARS, smells absolutely DELISH compared to regular feed poops. That stuff was toxic, I’m tellin’ ya. Now it’s tolerable and doesn’t require the HAZMAT suit and re-breather. Whew.

4) Glossier feathers

I’m not aware of any studies that measure feather glossy-ness, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. :lol: And, they grow back faster.

 

How?  What ingredients do I need to use?

Water + feed + 3 to 4 days for initial ferment. Stir. Wait. Stir. Wait. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you’ve been strolling around the WWW, no doubt you’ve found a boat load of recipes for chicken foods to be fermented, and those using multiple buckets with holes drilled in the bottom; rotating them in and out so they always have a batch going.

Ya. That’s not going to happen on my planet. :lol: Ain’t nobody got time for that here!

So. Let me repeat.  Water + feed + 3 to 4 days for initial ferment.  Whatever you’re feeding now- ferment that. Add some water, stir, wait 3 to 4 days, stirring a few times a day. That’s really all there is to it.

Now, if you want to complicate things and make it involved, have at it. :)

 

Can I use it if I don’t want to wait the 3 to 4 days to ferment?

Do you want actual full benefit? Yes? Then leave it alone for 3 to 4 days. I know, it’s hard, isn’t it? If you already have chickens, you’re feeding them something else already anyhow. A few more days won’t hurt.

I say 3 to 4 days because ferment is based on temperature. You can use hot water to kick start things, or, you could wait an extra hour. :lol: {Seeing as there appears to be controversy over what constitutes “hot,” why don’t we say 99-ish degrees, Fahrenheit. It is, after all, living internally in the gut….}

“Optimum growth temperatures for 9 strains of S. thermophilus and 10 strains of L. bulgaricus ranged from 35 to 42 degrees C for S. thermophilus and 43 to 46 degrees C for L. bulgaricus.” {That’s 95 t0 104 degrees for us non-mertic folks. ;)} {http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3805441}

Many folks have read that when it starts bubbling, that means it’s fermented and all done. Nope. It needs time. Those bubbles are a great start, and proof that fermentation is happening. If you want your whole batch thoroughly inoculated, do yourself a favor and wait. If you are backslopping, the better your initial ferment is, the better every subsequent batch is going to be, and the faster they will ferment.

 

Do I have to stir it?

I do. I like to mix it all around; making sure my SCOBY gets consistently distributed throughout the batch. I know folks who don’t, and have no issues. I’ve heard of folks who didn’t stir the initial ferment for a few days and ended up with some black and green mold. I don’t quite know how that happened, since it usually takes a lot longer than 2 days to get mold, but it was some ugly stuff.

How about, there is no harm in stirring. :D If you have a very dry mix, stirring helps keep it moistened. In my case, as you’ll see in pictures below, I usually end up with a juicy layer in the middle, which I like to mix around to even out the consistency before I feed.

Our  primary resident expert, Bee, says, ” ……stir at least once a day when ambient temps are very warm and humid. I only stir mine once a day right before I feed and when I’m gone for days it doesn’t get stirred at all and it doesn’t grow mold but it does grow the fuzzy white yeast.”

 

Do I have to use a food grade bucket?

No. You don’t “have” to. You want to stay away from metal, as the lower ph will eat it, but other than that, you can use pretty much everything.

Folks have found used food grade buckets all over; some from big-box stores that have, well, food in them, like pickles or mayo, etc. Some find them at bakeries that had fondant or frosting etc in them and have been discarded. Some have gotten them for a few dollars at the deli/bakery at Wal-Mart. Some have used the orange buckets from Home Depot.

You don’t want to use a used car oil pan, or a plastic paint can, etc. Food storage containers are ok. I use a 60 qt cooler.

A lot of people have read to use glass, and keep the lid on. Here’s a word of warning: glass will explode if you do that. Yes, it really will, I promise.

Fermenting creates gas; which creates heat and pressure. The pressure especially can cause your sealed glass jar to explode.

 

I read that you have to keep the feed covered by several inches or it will grow mold?

This is probably the one I hear the most, and the one people argue over the most. They are convinced that not only will you grow mold, but you’ll make alcohol, too.

“The water over the feed won’t “keep bacteria out of the feed”, so you can dispense with all those ideas in the future.  Same with keeping the lid on….water is not a bacteriostatic agent nor is it a bactericide.  Nothing wrong with placing water over the feed at first to allow for absorption into the kernels and ground feed, but to maintain water over the level of feed to “keep out germs” or to do “lactobactic fermentation” is not based on facts and you can put those worries out of your mind.  You will get lacto fermentation anyway, no matter if you cover it with water, use a lacto starter or not, etc.  You will not grow bad bacteria if you don’t cover the feed with water at all times.  Trust me. 

Quote:

Bacteriostatic agent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

A bacteriostatic agent or bacteriostat, abbreviated Bstatic, is a biological or chemical agent that stops bacteria from reproducing, while not necessarily harming them otherwise. Depending on their application, bacteriostatic antibiotics, disinfectants, antiseptics and preservatives can be distinguished. Upon removal of the bacteriostat, the bacteria usually start to grow again. This is in contrast to bactericides, which kill bacteria.[1]

Bacteriostats are often used in plastics to prevent growth of bacteria on surfaces. Bacteriostats commonly used in laboratory work include sodium azide (which is acutely toxic) and thiomersal (which is a mutagen in mammalian cells).”  {http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/645057/fermented-feeds-anyone-using-them/2340}

Many of the fermenting folks I know have a consistency similar to my own: peanut butter, cookie dough, oatmeal {before it sets and thickens}, and mine is the consistency of grout at mixing; thicker when it gets to working.

My secondary ferment looks like this:

 

Overnight=  cracklyfeed

Popped gas bubble from fermenting= 
f bubble1
Hidden juicy layer = juicylayer
Do you see the difference? Do you see any mold?  :D It’s a good idea to scrape down the sides, or they can get a bit yeasty. In the event you do grow some mold, you can scrape it down in there, and the good bugs in the ferment will gobble it right up. {And lest you snarl your nose up at that, I’m going to send you images of stinky cheese, poop, and other things chickens eat…… it’s not toxic and it won’t harm them in small amounts, in the event something manages to survive in the ferment, which is unlikely anyhow……}

 

Help! I see all this white stuff on the top and on my lid. What is it? Do I have to start over?

So, you’re probably on day 2 at this point, and you open your container and try not to freak out. Or maybe throw up. Either or, get to stirring! That’s your SCOBY- the Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. That’s the good stuff.

Now, if you are terribly concerned that I’m off my rocker, because it looks fuzzy and your mama told you not to eat anything that is fuzzy, here are some pictures of actual molds compared to yeasts.

Fuzzy white yeasts:  https://www.google.com/search?q=fuzzy+white+yeast&client=firefox-a&hs=npN&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=6KELU9WTMOPp2AXsjoHoAg&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg&biw=1138&bih=501

Fuzzy white mold, with some colors thrown in:  https://www.google.com/search?q=fuzzy+white+mold&client=firefox-a&hs=HD3&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=mqILU7bxGM7RqQGNgYGYCA&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg&biw=1138&bih=501o

 

If you’re still convinced I’m an escapee and my oars aren’t in the water, please do go and read this whole page, which has a variety of information sources:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/645057/fermented-feeds-anyone-using-them/2310#post_12893023.

Really. Read that page. And then read some other pages before, and then some pages after. If you’re really motivated, subscribe to the thread and to the site if you aren’t already. Stop in and say hi. It’s free. And this is where all the brainiac fermenty folks are. :D

 

Can I feed my chicks fermented feed?

Yep. Sure can. I start mine off from day 1 on unmedicated chick starter. Chicks like to stand in their food, and because it’s wet, you’ll want to keep an eye out and make sure it doesn’t get caked on the bottom of their feet. Some like to use muffin tins; some like to use ice cube trays; some like to use troughs with a length of wire over it so they can stand on top to eat and not stand *in* it. I’m using a sandwich container. I haven’t noticed mine with caked feet, but mine is also not sloppy wet, which I think is more of an issue than the drier feed.

 

What about medicated feed? Won’t I kill my chicks with cocci if they don’t have the medicated feed?

Probably not. The amprolium in the medicated feed is going to get diluted, which basically renders it inert. The thing is- cocci is everywhere, and it’s always in the gut anyhow. The issue is the OVERGROWTH of cocci that causes the problem.

Because you’re changing the gut flora and PH of the gut by feeding fermented feed,  cocci will have a lesser chance of overgrowth and causing issues. The key here is also keeping things clean and dry, so the chicks can build their immunity.

If you are hatching from your own flock, you may notice mama encouraging the babies to eat her poo. This right there- that’s why.  It helps them get exposed to the stuff in their environment and start protecting against anything that could cause problems. {You can also give them a hunk of dirt from your yard, too, to help them get started…..}

 

What kind of starter do I need to use?

This is another question that has gone around the block several times. You can either read waaaaaay up at the top, or- nevermind- I’ll just say it again- water+ feed+ time is ALL you need.

You don’t need yogurt.

You don’t need pickle juice.

You don’t need sauerkraut.

You don’t need kefir.

You don’t need fancy culture starters you buy in a jar.

You really just need air. {Which goes very well with the next question, too.}

When you stir, your feed is going to grad the stuff in the air. No, really, it will. At some point, it’s all going to equalize anyhow, which isn’t profitable from folks trying to sell starters or anything else to “help” your feed along. That $$$$ stuff you bought is going to get taken over by the stuff in your personal air. Now, if you want to spend your money, of course, have at it. Since at some point it’s going to be moot, I’d rather pass and use what’s going to be the end result right from the beginning. Clear as mud?

 

Do I need to keep a lid on it?

As we covered ^^^^  there, glass that has a sealed lid can explode. Fermenting grabs the stuff in the air for its cultures. You will want to have it exposed, yes. The question is, how much? Some folks cover with cheese cloth; some cover with a tea towel. I have the lid cracked for initial fermentation, but I confess to closing my lid on secondaries some of the time. It is still getting air because I’m stirring a few times a day and having the lid open so I can feed my buggers. And, of course, it’s a cooler, so the lid closed doesn’t make it air tight anyhow. I have noticed that my feed ferments better after backslopping and refreshing if the lid is closed. It seems to help keep the gases in and really gets it going. As my feed gets closer to the bottom and therefore stronger, the lid is closed more.

 

Wow, it smells. Should I throw it out?

Nope. It’s going to be fragrant and aromatic. :lol: If you’re a super smeller, it might cause you to wander around with a clothes pin in your pocket. My kids hate the smell. I don’t think it’s terrible, but I don’t want to stick my head all the way in the bucket, either, especially on day 3 or later.

It should have a decidedly sour smell. Some will depend on what you’re fermenting. Just feed can get strong; feed with ACV will be stronger yet. It may even peel some paint if you let it go real long. ;)

For my nose, I like to refresh on night 3, which will help tone the aroma down. If you’re finding your batches are lasting longer {which isn’t a bad thing}  but are clearing your sinuses more than you’d like, I’d suggest trying a smaller batch and see if that helps.

 

How often should I feed this compared to my regular dry food?

I confess, I don’t much understand why folks would not feed it all the time. Somewhere along the line, someone said it wasn’t good for them to have fermented feed all the time, and I’d love to see the science on that. Because you are giving superior nutrition, why would you dumb it down at all? When you revert or regress to non-fermented feed, you are lessening the GOOD effects of the probiotics and good gut PH. In a pinch, sure; don’t starve your chooks.

Certainly, do what you want. I, personally, think giving dry feed undermines the point of fermenting and lessens the benefit.

 

How much do I feed at one time?

I don’t know that this has any hard and fast rule as an answer. I’ve seen folks give anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup one to two times a day. The goal is that they eat their fill in about 30 minutes. Remember, it’s super nutrition. They are getting CONSIDERABLY more nutrition from the food, so they need LESS of it.

A concern has been freezing in the winter- again, you can feed what they can eat in 30 minutes to an hour, before it freezes. Some have said that the heated dog bowls work well. On the rare occasion I’ve had frozen feed, I’ve traded out troughs, taken the frozen one back inside, and then when thawed, added it back to the bowl to re-ferment.

 

Ok. Got it. What the heck am I supposed to feed it in?

Obviously, your regular feeder won’t work. Don’t pitch them, though. You can use them for your oyster shell, grit, and scratch in the winter.

I use a gutter. I got a cheapie 10 ft section of vinyl gutter at the Lowe’s, got end caps for the number of sections I wanted, and then we cut the pieces. The end caps were a bully wooger, though, and needed Hunny’s manly hand strength.

20140116_090403

This is Silver, by the way, my silkie girl from the It’s Broken post. As you can see, she’s made a full recovery and eats out of the same trough as every one else.

I have several sections, as I mentioned, and I transport from a bowl to the trough. I always leave some IN the bowl because for some reason, they really seem to love it right from the bowl of goodness and all things yummy. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to have another feeding station.20140116_090352

I’ve seen all kinds of troughs; homemade wood ones; big bowls; PVC piping sliced to make a trough, etc. If you can dream it, you can do it! :lol: Seriously, though, you could slop it on the ground and they would gobble it up. At least mine will. :D

 

Great! I’m on day 4 and ready to feed- what now? Do I run out and then start a whole new batch and wait those days again? Do I add new feed every time I take some out?

Do you want the easy way or the complicated way? Some folks have a bucket for every day of the week; started a day later than the last. When the bucket is empty, they move on to the next one; re-starting a new batch in the empty bucket.

I am kind of too lazy for that. :lol: I, personally, personally, prefer to use a higly technical method called BACKSLOPPING. :lol: When I get down to only having about a single serving left in the bucket, I add new water, stir, and then start mixing in my feed. That’s backslopping. :D I try to do it so I’m backslopping and mixing the new feed in at night so it’s ready to be fed in the morning, but once your ferment is solid {one of the reasons you’ve waited the whole 3 to 4 days initially}, it will be ready to feed in several hours. Of course, as you let it continue to ferment in the next few days while feeding, the ferment will again, continue to get stronger.

It really is that easy. This highly technical method of backslopping results in another highly technical term; the “never-ending- bucket.”  :lol:

 

What if I go on vacation and will be gone for a while?

There are various ways to tackle this issue. The obvious solution is to stop going places. There is nothing wrong with being chained to your farm, er, home.

What? You don’t want a staycation?

Well, you can go a few different routes. You can show whoever is taking care of your chickens how to refresh and feed. If it’s a few days, you can leave out however much you would feed them in the time you’ll be gone. You can make a super-duper big batch for whoever is watching your chickens. You can finish your fermented feed and feed dry food while gone. You can save your fermented feed while gone; not use it; feed dry while gone, and then backslop/refresh and feed when you get home. It will be *strong* though, I’ll warn you.

Fermenting chicken feed shouldn’t be labor intensive. You don’t need a multi-bucket system where you need to drill holes from one to the other. You don’t need elaborate recipes with a gazillion ingredients. You don’t need to spend $$$$ on fancy starters. Certainly, you *can* do all those things. You can buy a portable cement mixer if you wanted to; or designate a hand drill for mixing. But – you don’t HAVE to. It really CAN be easy; using the feed you already have and containers you probably already have on hand at home.

Our online community of fermented feeders compiled a running list of pros and cons:

Cons~

Odor
Climate changes that dictate a need to keep FF at a temp that promotes good fermentation. (If done in bulk quantities, it keeps very well in weather that is at freezing and below freezing temps, though slower to metabolize)
Cannot be dispensed in continuous feeding type feeders.
Five minutes more time needed to replenish feed bucket on days when this is necessary…on other days, no more time is spent on feeding than if feeding dry feeds. Say, once a week, a person would spend 5 extra minutes.
Equipment changes that require minimal, if any, expense. Those already feeding in troughs need make little change. Buckets are often found free at local delis and restaurants.

Pros~

Increases protein usage by 12%(according to scientific studies)
Changes proteins and sugars to a form easily digested and utilized by a monogastric animal~amino acids.
Less feed waste due to more utilized at the point of digestion and also from feeding a wet feed.
Less feed consumed due to total nutrients increased in the feed~resulting in a decrease of total feed costs by nearly half.
Intestinal health and culture increases, intestinal villi lengthen thus increasing total absorption area and blood flow to the intestines.
Increased immune system function.
Increased parasite resistance.
Increased yolk size/weight.
Increased rate of lay.
Increased feather quality and growth, increased rate of molt recovery.
Increased scale, beak quality due to increased nutrient uptake(some have reported correction of cross beak after using FF).
Less undigested matter in the feces~resulting in less nitrogen in manure, less smell of the fecal matter, less attractant for flies, less ammonia production as there is less break down needed of waste material.
Less water consumption due to feeding wet feeds.
Less incidence of pasty butt in young chicks, faster weight gains, faster feathering of young chicks as well.
Thicker egg shells.
Less feed waste to rodent predation.
No changes in winter warmth issues as core temps do not depend on rates of digestion of feed~no more than it does for any other animal or human.
Increased mild flavor of eggs, removal of sulfur or “eggy” flavor.
Increased mild flavor of meat, removal of “gamey” flavor.
Increased overall health and appearance noted and reported with continuous use of FF.
Prebiotics and probiotics available in feed increase resistance to disease/illnesses such as coccidia, e.coli, salmonella, flagella, etc.

And, there’s nothing saying you HAVE to continue if you decide it’s not for you. No harm; no fowl foul. :D

So, there you have it. If you’ve got questions I missed, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it. :mrgreen:


Marty had had her one true love. And he was gone; 4 years to the day. Having the love of her life gored to death by a bull was not even on Marty’s radar. Dreams of ranching; dreams of children- all gone; lost forever. 10 years of marriage and no child carried to term, children are pretty well off the table, as she sees it. Marty stopped praying that day; the day God had refused her prayers to save her Thomas’ asensiblearrangementlife.

To add salt to her still raw wound, constant reminders of those lost dreams in the form of her sister’s children haunt her on a regular basis.

She needs a change. She needs to get away.

Hannah has no qualms about cutting her ties to her Texas ranch. The classified  ad from a Colorado banker seeing a Lone Star wife caught her eye. Her decision made, she doesn’t quite find the right time to tell her family about her contracted suitor, but nonetheless, her mind is made up and she is resolved.

Knowing her sister would never approve of her marrying a man she’s never met, Marty explains her trip to Colorado as a visit to finishing school friends living in Colorado Springs. Hoping to keep a low profile, Marty makes her way on the stagecoach, which is subsequently held up by bandits. Marty knows she has to do something, or they could all die. Runaway stages with shot-up drivers rarely have happy endings.

Well, Marty is no church mouse. She’s a Texan through and through. She knows how to shoot and how to drive a team. Fortunately, her shots hit one bandit, and the others are discouraged from pursuing their heist. And thus begins Marty’s entrance into Denver society.

Banker Jacob Wythe would love nothing better than to ditch the stuffy high-life and get back to his ranching roots. That’s the reason why he was looking for a Lone Star bride, to tell the truth. He wanted a woman of hardy stock, who wouldn’t mind ranching. Little did he know that Marty was determined to leave those days behind.

Jacob makes no bones about his future plans, and Marty knows she has to keep a lid on the fact that she own the exact kind of ranch Jacob wants to end up on. Can she keep her secret from him? What will happen if he finds out?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This book was excellent from start to finish. Both Marty and Jacob have demons they are battling, and the reader can see each struggle and the logical outcome. As one part of the plot unfolds, another part thickens. I really enjoyed the sub-plots and the final telling off of the highfalutin’ society ladies. Definitely worth some giggles.

Great book- 5 out of 5 stars.  I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

 

 


They’d done it. They’d journeyed across the ocean and made it to Jerusalem in one piece. Problem is, Thomas still doesn’t know who to trust. He’d leapt into dark caves and followed cryptic instructions. He’d felt Isabelle die, only to find her alive again. How? Why? Who’s side was she on?  bladesofvalor

And Katherine. A part of Thomas wants to trust her, but her repeated deceptions have left him wary and confused.

Katherine and Sir William are in the same boat. Has Thomas been corrupted by the Druids? Or has he accepted his place as an Immortal?  Can he pass their tests and can they all come out alive at the end?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that I picked up this series with book 2, Fortress of Mist; which I enjoyed tremendously. Actually, I liked this one so much, I went online right away to try to find the sequel, which wasn’t out yet. I waited, and did get a chance to read and review Martyr’s Fire. While still good, this one didn’t leave me waiting impatiently for the next book in the series. Honestly, I really didn’t see the point in traveling all the way to the Holy Land.

After reading the last book in the series, I’m still not sure what the point was. I am pretty sure they could have accomplished the same objectives in the story line while forgoing a sea voyage that didn’t really result in anything substantial, less the slave trade and subsequent traitor. Could that have been accomplished somewhere else? Perhaps. Either way, there wasn’t enough of voyage happenings that could have been added to spice that section up a bit. Have there been a bit of something more during that part of the voyage, I don’t know, maybe it would have helped my interest level.

This book was ok. The ending was resolved and that was nice. This wasn’t a stand- alone title for me- I really think you need to read the others before reading this one, because you will be completely lost, and the book would likely be nonsensical to you. Because I like the series overall, I’m still giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Rank this Review!

I’m a Redneck


Tell you something you don’t already know, right? :lol:

No, really, in this case, I kind of am. And there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. :mrgreen:

Somehow, this is turning into a chicken blog……. the days are consistently soooooo busy that so much has flown by without an update. Much of my life day revolves around chickens- letting them out, cleaning the coop every morning while I check chooks, collecting eggs, counting heads after they go to bed, etc.

As you might remember, I’m currently overrun with boys, which I love for the most part. Part of the ooey gooey fun is knowing that when the girls go broody, if they are really mean or determined, you actually can slip some eggs under them and see what happens……. :lol:

Back in January, one of our Silver Spangled Hamburgs {aka “the polka-dotted chicken”} became the meanest broody we’ve ever seen. Fortunately, we got her nest moved from the tippy top of the hay loft to the nesting boxes without losing fingers or eyes. :D Because it was winter and male fertility is down, I figured we likely wouldn’t hatch anything out. And besides, she was eating her way through the eggs…..

Fast forward to the second coldest snap of the winter, and one baby freezes to death hatching out of the shell. {You can see where this is going, yes?} Well, that’s not ok. On the rare chance more hatched, it was safer to move them into the house. This has kind of been an issue since we moved here, because we left the fantabulous brooder Hunny made back at the other house. Well.

Last year when we got the bantams, we put them in the stock tank. We had a few on hand, but thought we’d get one bigger for the horses, which we could use as a brooder in the meantime.

I mean, honestly? There are all kind of uses for stock tanks. We haven’t made the leap to hot tubbinghottub

 

or swimming in them {yet} swimming, but using as a brooder?

 

Pshaw. At least it’s ag/barnyard related. :lol:

 

 

We started with a regular new black tank.stocktank2

 

 

 

 

That went pretty well. It was the perfect size for the bantams.  blacktank1

 

 

 

 

Then it was time for the large fowl chicks, and that presented a bit of a dilemma, since we had not completed the coop. After looking around for a bit, I settled on- you guessed it- another stock tank. This one was the loooooonnnnnggg variety. It took some doing to even get it INTO the office.

tank1.2

Once it was in, it was the perfect habitat for babies. :lol:

tank3

tank4

And, of course, you know we added the guinea keets at some point, too.

The stock tanks, however, are not what makes me a redneck. Maybe a hillbilly, but pretty sure not a total redneck.

Nope. What vaults me into that category is salvage/repurposing all stuff. In this case, I needed a new brooder.

But wait! I know what you’re thinking- didn’t all my chicks less the new hatchlings in the other metal stock tank grow up already?

Why, yes, I’m glad you asked. They did indeed grow up! :D Because my girl to boy ratio is so low and I am loath to give up my boys if there is a way around, the way around it was to get more girls. :mrgreen:

A trip to my local Tractor Supply Co found me staring at a stock tank full of brahma pullets. Well. I didn’t have those. And they have FEATHERY FEET!

How could I say no? :lol:

A call to my hunny resulted in a reluctant green light, and I made a mad dash home with 6 more new chicks. Yay! :D

It didn’t take long once I was home to realize I was facing yet another quandary: where was I going to put them? We had taken the smaller metal stock tank,  which really was marginal, for the mama and her 3 babies. I made a hardware cloth divider and went outside to wander around and see if I had enough scrap wood.

Well. Lo and behold, there was an old dresser our friends had outside our little house, waiting to be transported to the dump. A quick text confirmed what I suspected- the dresser was about to become my new brooder!

I think the hardest part of this project was getting my chicken-project-hating-teenage daughter to stop rolling her eyes and moaning. I was very sure I had enough glee for both of us, but she wasn’t having any of it.

All told, grumbling included, it took about an hour and a half to get things cut and put together. brooder1

I slapped on a coat of paint that night and by the next afternoon, it was good to go.

brooder2

I’ll have to unscrew the light post to get it out of the room, because as it is, it’s too wide to fit through the door.

I was really pleased, though. It didn’t take long; it saved a trip to the dump, and it was free to me less the paint and screws. A month later, it’s still doing the job as well as any other brooder.

I do a lot of reading and talking about chickens {I know you are shocked!  :shock: }, and one thing I hear a lot of is that folks don’t have the money or the resources to build a brooder. I say, get your redneck on and think outside the box!

Our first brooder was the bookshelf section of one of the kids’ old computer desks that was also working on finding its way to the dump. I know folks who use plastic totes. I know folks who have chicks in their bathtubs. I know folks who use the plastic drawer stacks.

I am pretty sure I’m not the first one to use an old dresser. I surely hope I won’t be the last. I am also pretty sure I’m not the only one who gets a little rednecky from time to time, especially when it comes to chickens. The key is to think safety first. Don’t be daunted or put off of getting chicks because your “coop isn’t totally built,” or you “don’t have the right equipment.”

They say “necessity is the mother of invention,” and chicks and/or chickens are no exception.

What are the most creative brooders you’ve used? :mrgreen:


Ellis Eton has plans. And those plans don’t involve staying home and continuing to disappoint her family. College is hard. No matter how hard she studies, something always comes up and gets in the way of making good grades. Her family has expectations of her that she doesn’t want to meet- and can never seem meet, either, even when she tries.lovecomescalling

Being a girl in the 20s is hard. And her plans don’t look anything like the plans her family has for her. Nope. They don’t.

Ellis is bound and determined to make her escape from Boston to the bright lights of Hollywood. Now, if only she can get the money she needs…..

Not everyone is lucky enough to know their doppelgänger up-close-and-personal, but Ellis sure does! Julia, the daughter of her family’s cook, looks just like her; so much so that people often thought they were twins. When tragedy strikes and Julia’s mother dies, Julia comes up a with a scheme to bury her mother up north whilst still keeping her job, even though her employer won’t allow her to take time off.

You guessed it- Julia asks, and Ellis agrees to fill in for Julia at her telephone operator job. The money from the job will spring Ellis from her Boston misery. And, it’s only two weeks, right? Surely, she can manage a job for two weeks? What could possibly go wrong?

Ellis muddles through- barely- but disaster strikes when she accidentally overhears a plan that involves her long-time good friend and star athlete being “taken out of the picture.” Oh no! How can she warn Griffin without running the risk of him trying to pin her?! And who is the “King” that wants it done?

Can Ellis hold it together to keep Janie’s job and solve the mystery of who’s after her Griffin? Can she avoid his advances long enough to make her escape to Hollywood?

Siri Mitchell is another one of my favorite authors, and I was really pleased to be able to review another one of her titles.

This book had me laughing pretty much from the beginning. In many ways, it reminded me of Thoroughly Modern Millie {I’ll past a clip in at the end :lol:}. Maybe it was the era; maybe it was the pace and/or chronic “whoop”es, but Ellis just made me laugh.

This one hit a home run with me, even though I was wondering at the  beginning. If you want a light-hearted book that actually has some moral meat to it, you won’t want to miss this one. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 stars.

I also appreciated the additional information about prohibition at the end, because that was an important time in US history. Ms. Mitchell provides more links on this subject on the website page for this title:  http://sirimitchell.com/Love_Comes_Calling.htm

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

And, as promised, a peek at Thoroughly Modern Mille. :lol:

 

 

 

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