Sunday, April 7, 2013

Old McDonald had a Farm...

I'm beginning to relate to this nursery song... I'm wondering how long it will be before I can sing "e-i-e-i-o" to just about every animal in the barnyard .... and find it in my own backyard! 

Life has taken an interesting turn here this week.  We've never owned "farm" animals.  We are animal lovers to say the least.  We've almost always had a dog and/or a cat in our home.  At one time we took in a hamster.  That didn't last long. The smell did me in.  My friend who gave us the hamster promised us there would be no smell.  I bought the most expensive bedding for the little fellow, but still... every time you walked in that room... the smell... Oh I couldn't stand it.  So the poor little fellow found a new home with a friend of ours who had several hamsters of her own.

So, my exposure to "barnyard" animals has been rather limited . Growing up, my parents raised a few dairy goats but that didn't last long either.  I can't remember why.  I think we had them for several years.  Maybe it was because having to milk them every day got to us, I can't remember.  I'm sure my mother will check in and refresh my memory. 

But aside from a few dairy goats as a child, all the animal exposure I've had has been limited to dogs and cats for the most part.

This week... all that changed.  Ginger entered our lives.  She caused quite a stir immediately.  Running away the first day, having her baby the second.  By the way - he's the cutest little fellow... more on him to follow ...

But... apparently that was not to be the end of it.  My kids had even grander plans.  They are part of a 4H group this year, and their projects are horse, goat, survival and rifle.  Animal projects mean you take care of animals for a project, keep notes and a binder full of information about that animal, and then at the end of the summer, there is a 4H fair in the county seat, and you show up with all your documentation of what you've learned, and how you've taken care of your animal. and show off all you've learned, including your interaction with the animal you've cared for.

So, earlier in the spring, when we agreed that the kids could do horse and goat, at first I didn't realize what it all entailed. ... but now... we're finding out.....

I knew we were getting two horses, just didn't know when.  The stalls in our backyard had to be fixed and readied for a horse to live in them again.  The previous owners had horses, which made it easier for us in that sense. All we had to do were some basic repairs and moving around of the electric fence and move in the horses. 

My kids have been next door at our neighbor's learning all about horses, and had been riding quite a bit, and helping out with the chores of taking care of animals.  So, they were prepared. 

On Saturday, it all came together, and the horses came to live with us.  The electric fence was hooked up, water was filled in the trough, fresh hay had been brought and stored behind the shed, and the horses were more than excited to come and live in their new stalls. 

So now... I want to introduce you to Wichita and Luna. ... (drum roll please... )

This is Luna.  Kinda hard to see, but in the following pictures you should be able to see the half moon on the front of her forehead. 

And the horse farther back in the distance is Wichita.  She is a mare also. 

Luna has a shorter tail.  Wichita's tail reaches to the ground!

Luna is a quarter horse paint.  She is 20 years old.  She is my son's horse.

Wichita is a quarter horse pony.  She is 10 years old (we think).  She is my daughter's horse. 

The horses could care less about coming over to the fence to see us.  They were having too much fun in their new surroundings, chowing down on all the fresh grass and hay available to them.  

A close-up of Wichita.

A glimpse of the backyard where we are housing the horses.  You can see the lean-to that was already built on the property for horses from the previous owners.  

While I was outside snapping some pictures of the horses, we had some visitors.  The horses perked their ears up when they saw them, but then went back to busily chomping on the hay.  As long as the deer weren't messing with THEIR food... they didn't care! These three deer have been hanging out at our house a lot lately.  We see the three of them early in the morning, and late in the evening.  They have their trails through the woods that they follow every day. 

I got a nice shot of Luna looking at me.  She was not too happy about my camera, and came over to sniff it and check it out.  After inspecting it, and deciding it wasn't food, and posed no threat to her food supply, she ambled away, back to the business of consuming as much hay and grass as possible.

Remember Simba?  Poor Simba had been through so much recently, and had been very, very sick.  After several weeks, he has finally gotten better, and his little nose is pink again, and healed over.  Simba was following us around outside wondering what in the world these big animals were doing in his backyard.  He was not real happy about it at all, and just sat there staring at the horses. After a while though, he got tired of playing watchdog, and went off to play in the grass and chase something in the barn.  He's feeling so much better, and we are so thankful for that!

And I just couldn't end the day without a picture of our sweet little Rascal (as the kids have affectionately named him).  It was a rather blustery, windy day outside, with occasional sheets of rain pouring down.  But he was bedded down comfortably right under the heat lamp - smart little guy! I wanted to crawl in there myself, and cuddle up with him, but I suspect Momma Ginger wouldn't appreciate that.  She is very, very protective of Rascal and not real happy with us if we try to hold him, just yet.  But she is definitely warming up to us.  So many new things in her life.  This is her first baby too... so we are very patiently teaching her that we love her and love taking care of her.  In fact, when she sees the kids coming with the food bucket, I think she even wags the little tail that she has!

Some more pictures of our cute little Rascal.

Well, that is my update from the ole McDonald's farm for today!  If you hear someone singing "e-i-e-i-o"... it's probably me... but don't worry about me... I'm just having the time of my life! 

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