Friday, December 14, 2007

Continuing my reverse chronology of our year, we come to March, which was a very busy month. After liquidating some jewelry I'd inherited, I began remodeling my poor animal barn. It was in such bad shape, I was afraid for the critters who tried to take shelter under its rotted and sagging walls and roof. Our friend Glen (remember Glen from the home remodeling posts?) came out and almost totally rebuilt the barn, nearly doubling the square footage and incorporating a chicken coop and feed room. In tall cotton, we are!

Here's the "after" shot. Better, huh? The animals think so, too, especially when it rains and blows. I sleep much better with them in this nice cozy barn. I can store a little more hay and my different feeds in metal cans in the feed room area. Click on the photo to enlarge it. Behind the chicken coop (where it says "Fresh Eggs" is the feed room, and a door out the back of the barn toward the house.

Of course, with all this new space, we needed a couple of new animals. While attending an alpaca show in Fort Worth, I happened upon a couple of fiber boys going for a very reasonable price. I talked my friend Barbara into getting one and I got the other. Of course, she pays me to take care of and play with her alpaca every day. Excellent gig. Her new boy is brown and white (he looks like he has brown pants on) and named Pinto, and mine is a young black 'paca that I call Solomon. Solly is very sweet and is the most tolerant of unsolicited human contact.

In this photo, the boys had just been sheared and looked kind of goofy - sort of like pipecleaner toys. Here in December, on the other hand, they are really filling out with fiber for the winter and are so fluffy and soft!

OK. I mentioned chickens. About this time we also added a couple of laying chickens I bought from my friends down the road. We got a barred rock hen we named Mary, and a Rhode Island Red we named Martha. Martha was the heavy lifter in the egg department. They had the whole coop to themselves and l
oved it. I had found a two holer nest box at a roadside antique place the previous spring and had been just itching to put it to work. It is installed inside the coop and MOST of the eggs end up there every day. Occasionally, I find the odd egg behind the muck pan or outside the feedroom door in a pile of dry leaves. It's Easter every day! ("Where are those eggs?") But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It's almost Christmas! 2007! Looks like I let this year get past me without posting to the blog. Well, it's not because I didn't have anything to write about. In fact, I have so much to share about this year, and I want to get All Caught Up over the Christmas holiday as a part of my gift for my family and friends.

Bookmark my blog, and check back, as I relate the Adventure in Agriculture that was 2007.

Tonight, we'll start with the addition of Aaron, the mini donkey. Seems Mr. Moses was not satisfied by the companionship of sheep and alpacas. In fact, he was a bit grouchy to them -- not the protector I had envisioned. So, by a quirky happenstance, the family accidentally stumbled upon a breeder not too far from us who raises, trains and shows both miniatures and mammoths.

We fell in love with a rolypoly little guy named Bandit, who we would later re-Christen "Aaron." Here he is (above, right) with his new playmate, Emma. He's not really that tall--he's standing on a railroad tie. (Short man complex.) The picture on the left is of the two donks bonding nicely. They spent a day with a fence between them, and when I let them out together, they did several fast laps around the pasture with Aaron kicking the snot out of Moses, who didn't even notice. They have been inseparable since. When the donkeys are happy, everybody's happy!