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Archive for March, 2013


I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a drug. A heavy- hitting, fly -to -the moon, squee-all-afternoon kind of drug that leaves you high and darn near breathless with euphoria.

Raise your hand if you are nodding along because you know what I’m talking about. {I’ll pretend I see you :lol:}

When we moved, as you may remember, one of the primary criteria for the new digs was the ability to have chickens. You may also recall that we ended up with horses instead.

Hunny finally got tired of me whining decided that despite the chaos, it was ok for me to order some chickens. I had been looking online for a while and came to the realization that it was going to be a few months out before all the breeds I wanted were ready to ship.

I spent the entire morning shopping. While I generally despise shopping {as you know because you’ve been reading along all this time} the only kind of shopping I don’t completely hate is- {wait for it……} shopping for chickens. 😆  There is something about checking out your breeds and then finding the best dates and prices on them.

This time, we were going to do it right, without falling victim to chicken math. Every time I’ve gone to buy chickens, I’ve fallen prey to it. Literally every. Single. Time. {Like, the time I Almost Did Something Bad and then ended up with Babies anyhow…….}

This time was going to be different, though. “Why,” you might ask? Well, we’re in the country for one thing, and for another thing, I was planning on getting more than the 23 I ended up with last time.

So you see, there was no reason for chicken math to creep up on me this time because I was already going to get as many as I wanted. 😆

I spent all morning shopping online, and had my breeds and quantities picked out. The only real issue was that I couldn’t get them until the end of June, which is, well, meh.  😥  😆

I thought, “Gee, well, as long as I’m down at tractor Supply, I’ll ask them how their shipping works. After all, the hatchery I talked to this morning would mix large fowl with bantams with no problem.”

So I asked. And they told me no. No biggy; I can order my silkies in a smaller quantity.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter had found another cool looking breed that she though would be neat to have. And I thought, “No biggy; I’ll just order a few of those and tack them on to the order.”

Are you laughing yet? 😆

Come to find out, yes, there’s a minimum order of 25 chickens. BUT. You have to order the breeds in quantities of 5. I called Hunny and talked it over with him before I did anything. And bless his heart, he was fine with it!

Initially, I was going to have a total of 31 without the guineas; 8 silkies and 23 large fowl. Because I was not going to pay megabucks to have the 90% accurate DNA testing done, the silkies were going to be straight run.

When it’s straight run, you can figure on about a 50/50 mix of boys and girls. So, in reality, that means we would only end up keeping 4 silkies, unless I could con talk Hunny into breeding and selling down the road. {Keeping my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath!}

So, in reality, that would put me around 27 chickens, which is a good amount of chickens.  😆

One other thing we decided on was getting guineas. Now, you may be scratching your head and wondering why, since we would have plenty of chickens.

Guineas are great at getting bugs. So are chickens, but the specialty of guineas is ticks. And, they will eat the bad bugs in the garden without eating the garden {I’ve heard- we’ll see- I’m a bit skeptical on that one, though}. While I’ve heard guineas are messy and loud, they are very good at alerting to predators and other unannounced “visitors.”

Another primary reasons guineas are such a good thing when you live in the country is that they will help control the snake population. I could do without snakes, so this seems like a win-win to me!

One of my bigger concerns is that because they roam, they might get chased by hunting dogs and then shot. In theory, this land is off-limits, but since we’re new and some haven’t figured that out, we’ve seen hunters from the hunting club out here. I don’t remember if I wrote it up, but there was one set of hunters in the front pasture with my HORSES that went and dragged a deer carcass right in front of them and my daughter who was out there. Ya, things are going to change next year!

We’ll have to see where we land with that.

I did a lot of looking online, and I finally ordered 15. Tractor Supply had a minimum of 25, and I just do not want that many.

Which ones did I settle on? I ordered 5 of each:

Lavender guinea: lavenderguinea

Royal Purple guinea:  royalpurpleguinea

and White guinea:   whiteguinea

Now. Onto the chickens! 😀

I actually did not order silkies today. Tractor Supply is getting bantams on Friday, so I’m going down there first thing in the morning to dig through them like we did last time. Hopefully, they will have a good variety, or else I may order the ones I want in a few weeks. That would put them here late June.

I did, however, order 5 Buff Orpington pullets. eggs and grass 010

The two big yellow chickens were our BOs, Butternut and Daisy. Butternut was the flock mistress, and would protect the chicks from the dogs. She would even peck Little Dog, who learned she didn’t like having her nose poked. Butternut was huge, and it was awesome to see her fluff her neck feathers out.

This was one of my absolute favorite breeds because of being a dual-purpose breed: good for meat and eggs. {We don’t eat our friends, though. 🙂 }

They are good all around- good in confinement and heat and cold tolerant. It’s also listed as a “Recovering Heritage Breed” with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Blue Andalusian.   BA3I got 5 Blue Andis, too.  After having our hearts broken saying Goodbye, Dear Jasmine, I vowed if I ever got the chance, we would get more Blue Andalusians, but all girls {pullets}. So we did. 😀

Andalusians are a “Threatened Heritage Breed,” and they are simply gorgeous! They are medium layers of nice white eggs and are heat tolerant.

If you’ve seen pictures of my eggs before we moved, you will no doubt know that none of my flocks are ever complete without Easter Eggers. EEs are commonly found at hatcheries listed as Ameraucanas, but because they come from hatcheries, they are actually Easter Egges. This is because hatchery birds don’t meet the breed standard all the time; some of them are rumpless; some are muffless and/or beardless, and of course, some of them lay brown eggs.

Out of our last flock, we had one that laid a brown egg; two laid olive eggs {yay for olive eggers!} and the rest laid the typical blue/green eggs.

They are SO cute as chicks because they look like chipmunks! chicks1

EEs are an all-around great chicken- they do well confined and are a cold and heat tolerant breed. I can’t say enough good about this breed. I settled on ordering 10 of these girls.

As I was choosing breeds, I was looking for a balance of egg color. I, personally, like to see a nice variety of egg colors in the carton. A very nice brown egg layer that is something special to look at is the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

silverlacedwyandotte

SLWs are another breed that are cold and heat tolerant and do ok being confined. While I was happy to see that this breed is listed as “Recovering,” it didn’t deter me from ordering 5. 😆

Before getting chickens, I had no idea the wide variety of colors chickens could come in. I admit to going a bit hog-wild this time. 😆

One of the egg-colors I have always drooled over was the really dark brown chocolatey eggs.  cuckoomaraneggs

YUMMY!!! Marans lay these eggs, so I got 5 Cuckoo Marans. I was particularly pleased, because Cuckoo Marans look a bit like Barred (Plymouth) Rocks, and since we weren’t getting any, I knew my middle daughter would be thrilled, because her favorites were the BRs.  cuckoomaran

As I was thinking about breeds, my daughter noticed the Silver Lakenvelder, and I remembered that it was also listed as a “Threatened” breed. I thought, “I’ll just add a few of those” and that’s how we ended up ordering 5. The Lakenvelder lays a nice white egg and does well in confinement and is heat tolerant.

silverlakenvelder

One of the more interesting and unique chicken breeds is the Silver Spangled Hamburg, also known as “the polka-dotted chicken,”

silverspangledhamburg

When I discovered these a few years ago, I swore I’d get some if I didn’t have to order a boatload. So, I ordered 5. The Silver Spangled Hamburg is on the “Watch” list. It lays a white egg; does best free-ranging and is heat tolerant.

So. Let’s recap:

Brown egg layers: Buff Orpingtons (5), Silver Laced Wyandottes (5)

Dark chocolate eggs: Cuckoo Maran (5)

White egg layers: Blue Andalusian (5), Silver Spangled Hamburg (5) and Silver Lakenvelder (5)

Colored eggs: Easter Eggers (10)

Regular math: 23 large fowl + 8 silkies= 31 + 8 guineas= 39. {I probably would have rounded to an even 40.}

Chicken math: 40 large fowl + 8 slkies + 15 guineas= running afowl of 63 birds! 😆

Ahhhh, my loves, I’ve been waiting! 😆

**pictures courtesy of Google, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery, Feathersite, Backyard Chickens, etc etc

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Yep. I think I might be certifiable. chickencuckoo

I spent yesterday in bed. I am pretty sure old people like me are not made to bounce off the ground. I’m going to be really bruised, but the upside is that I didn’t break a collar-bone or an arm or a leg or my spine.

I can say that not only am I not cut out for getting bucked off horses, I may not even be cut out to ride them. We’ll see.

We did a change in strategy over the weekend. I just didn’t have it in me yesterday to fight.

So, because I didn’t sleep last night worth a hill o’ beans because I was too sore, I did what most people would assume I would do: I went for a run.

After nearly 6 months off, I figured I was so pea pickin’ sore that I might as well tackle it now, so the new soreness will be absorbed by the stuff that’s already here. I’m pretty sure the turkeys across the road could have lapped me had they wanted to, as slowly as I was going.

Nonetheless, I got 3 miles in. While I’ve had a have a hard time lifting my arms the last two days, I figured my legs should be ok.  Any new aches I’m going to get will just have to join the others……………

Ya. Pretty sure I’m crazy. 😯

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Sorry, but I’m pretty sure there’s not. It’s probably a futile effort, but I’m going to try anyhow. You can thank me later. 😀

“What’s this?” you might be wondering.

A summary, that’s what. I am pretty sure that I can’t summarize what all has happened since I last wrote, but I’ll try. You’ll most assuredly get the Cliff’s Notes version, full of stuff that I didn’t forget to include. 😀 Hopefully, you’ll enough of the gist to pass the test at the end.

When I last bored you with my drivel, we had just moved 7 horses in a single day.

Magic, Angel, Halo, Blondie and Doodlebug {formerly known as Elia} all went down the road to our friend’s house. As a trainer, her goals were to make sure we could ride both Angel and Magic. Halo needed to continue gaining weight, and Doodlebug needed to be weaned.

Score on all of the above points, more or less. I say more or less, because Magic and Angel both have attitudes, and there have been days where we couldn’t even ride because they were too squirrely. {And yes, I DO know it’s mostly us and not them ………….. :lol:} Combined with an uncontrolled full-out gallop back to the paddock resulting in throwing off my oldest daughter and having her arm stepped on, we can 100% say that a drug drop makes us really stressed out which in turn stresses out the horse and can be a less-than-ideal situation. Ya. Really.

Anyhow.

Horses have been trained, and we’re taking it one day at a time. I am not giving up.

I have, however, learned that show horses and rescue horse, like other rescue animals, come with their own sets of learned behaviors that may or may not be conducive to trail riding.  You might have figured out by now that we’re a particularly stubborn kind of folk, that, while listening to thoughts, opinions, and recommendations of others, may or may not take said advice. We’ll take it all under advisement, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do what we’re going to do.

Clearly, there is a learning curve, but if we’re in for a penny; we’re in for a pound. And there are *lots* of pennies involved here.

Since moving day, all the horses have had the farrier come and do their feet. Boi, for the first time, and Flicka in who knows how many years- both did well, all things being equal. And the day the farrier came, Boi had gotten gelded.

Yep. He did. Right out in the side pasture, our awesome vet laid him down, took off his parts, and off we went on our merry way. Because she didn’t suture, there was no concern about ripping his sutures open to lift his legs for the farrier. We also trotted him the following days as told, to keep him draining.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and all the girls came home. Boi was thrilled to see his love and mother of his children, Halo, and didn’t waste any time mounting her since she was in heat.

Much to his disappointment {after numerous times trying}, as you can imagine, he was unable to complete his business. He hasn’t tried again since that we’ve seen, but he’s been in a pretty foul mood until we separated him out from the girls and started spending a lot of time with him again.

Where do we go from here? I’m not sure.

We are planning on riding again today, since we haven’t put in a whole lot of time since the runaway episode over a week ago. We’re giving them time to adjust. I’m hoping getting back into riding consistently will get Angel to stop cribbing and air/wind sucking. Honestly, she is not bored and is not lonely and is not stabled; we’ll get it figured out.

Halo has taken to getting picky with what she eats. I guess since she’s not starving anymore, she figures she can let her particular palete run wild.

In the meantime, not a lot of painting has gotten done. We’ve had a visit from my parents who had to laugh at the chaos that is 5 horses, 3 dogs and 3 kittens and 4 children.

While the girls were being trained, not only were we heading over to feed twice a day, but most days we were there for training as well. Add to this that during this time, we still had heating contractors in and out on a weekly basis, it’s not an understatement to say it was chaotic.

I have to say, it was *awesome* having the ability to be present for 98% of the training and see what was happening. Depositing a horse off for training and then picking them up at the end of a month is not the kind of training that settles well with me. Clearly, I am too much of a control freak. 😀

Those few weeks, we were feeding 15 horses twice a day. It was all-consuming. We were not home a whole lot. Since you already know that I’m a hermit an introvert, you can imagine what kind of state I ended up in. And I got sick, which is probably no surprise.

Out of everything, I have gotten to the point where I realize the deep-seated need for running and getting back into more of a normal routine. I probably won’t be doing my 8 miles a day for a while, because painting still looms, but I have to find the balance, because my body is revolting against me. My pain level has been consistently higher lately, which tells me I need to get off my rear and get back at it. No matter how much a person tries to not to think about it, chronic illness simply will not be ignored.

In the midst of this, Hunny has managed to get most of the office put together, which I’m hoping means a return to more active writing. Goodness knows, I’ve needed it.

The underlying, recurring theme as I bang my head with the horse stuff is this: “All I wanted were chickens…………..”

So. Let’s recap, shall we?

Horses got moved out. Boi got gelded. Girls got moved back home. Magic and Angel have been giving attitude. Painting has been slow going. Office has been mostly put back together. Unpacking still looms. Despite the horsey issues, no one has gotten seriously hurt {praise God!} and we continue on our merry way of sticking to our plan, which may be sheer folly.

Because you got the edited version, the following test will completely consist of identifying each horse by name. {No cheating by looking at the caption! :lol:}

Horse #1

parked out

Boi

Boi

Flicka

Flicka

Halo and Elia

Halo and Elia

Who’s first? 😀

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“Then the man turned.
It was Seth Kincaid.
Alive and well. He’d be better off dead.
She could arrange that.
She still had her gun.”

Callie had no choice but to leave her Texas home and go chase her wayward husband. He’d survived the Civil War, but she’s not sure his demons will allow his to remember her. overtheedge

Out of options, she headed to Colorado with their baby in tow, in search of the Kincaid family ranch. Why had he discarded her? Why hadn’t he come for her already?

Hoping the parson had gotten enough time to go for help, she waited for rescue, blood pouring from her wound. She started to relax, as her rescuer came into sight.

And then he turned.

While dodging the bullets she was shooting at him, fingers of recognition wafted through Seth’s mind. “The memory conjured up a pleasant feeling in his chest. Which sure didn’t match with the threat and the gunfire.”

The stagecoach hold-up was not the first obstacle to deal with, but even after having gotten shot, it might well be the easiest, for all the good finding her husband had done.

Not knowing who she was was- but that he’d held her before, Seth scooped her up onto his horse and raced her to town; praying she wouldn’t die. Seth didn’t have time to be shocked at the revelation that she had sparked a prayer, after all those years ago when “he’d paid for survival with his soul.” That afternoon was the last time he’d prayed- until now.

Will she survive her injuries and if she does, will he let her come to the ranch? Will he ever remember her?

If you’ve read any of the other titles in The Kincaid Brides series, you’ll no doubt remember Seth’s struggles. Being burned in a cave as a child combined with the war have left him in a cycle of constantly fighting the demons in his mind.

It seemed to me I had reviewed the first book in the series, Out of Control, but I don’t see that I had. Our move has totally thrown my sense of timing off, because when I “found” this title unpacking, I immediately remembered the characters like I had just read the other book a very short time ago.

That is the sign of a good author- one that writes characters that stick with you despite the passage of significant time. 🙂 Normally, I read titles in a series in sequence if I can, and if I miss one, I generally won’t go back to read the missing book. This series, however, has been so enjoyable that I probably will go back for the second book, even though I know the end result.

There are few authors that go onto my “must read” list, but Mary Connealy is one that goes onto that list without a second thought. I give this title 5 out of 5 stars.

Because this book was so much fun to read, I’m going to throw you the trailer. 😀

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeSzqacHzQM&list=UUOTCh77FT1ZAyg-Mrj97HWw&index=2&feature=plcp%5D

You might also enjoy Mary Connealy’s website, that has all of her titles.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for this unbiased review.

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