Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘chickens

Safety Glass

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One of our Barred Plymouth Rock hens was checking out the scene on the deck this morning while Delilah napped nearby.

Apparently the dog wasn’t in a deep enough sleep to miss the vibes of a creature entering her sensory field.

Delilah spent a lot of yesterday barking at the sound of gunshots. It was the first day of the deer hunting season. Maybe this has her on a heightened sense of alert today.

We are grateful there was a safe glass barrier between our animals for their encounter this morning. No feathers were ruffled, although the dog did suffer a brief abolishment from the bedroom for her unrestrained outburst against the glass.

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Written by johnwhays

November 19, 2017 at 11:12 am

Sunday Two

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Wintervale‘s November version of the Second Sunday event is coming up this weekend. The theme Cyndie has prepared involves “Gratefulness Collages.” In the month of giving thanks for our bounty, I expect the creative arts project will most likely be well augmented with bountiful offerings from her kitchen, too.

Materials are supplied, but if you’ve got any interesting old magazines lying around, feel free to donate them to the cause.

As of last night, the forecast for Sunday looked sunny, which would be nice for an afternoon stroll to see what inspiration the horses might offer. Of course, the chickens will be eager to say hello, too.

They love company as much as we do!

Make sure to let us know if you plan to stop in for a visit between noon and 3:00. Cyndie’s contact information can be found at the link for Second Sundays, above.

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Written by johnwhays

November 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

How’s Everybody?

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Basically, we are all good, but there are some health concerns that continue to linger for some of the Wintervale crew. Time has not healed all wounds.

After the most recent hoof trimming, Cayenne’s showing a tiny bit of improvement. What we cling to there is that she is, at the very least, not worse. She still shows a fair amount of hesitation on her movements, but she doesn’t appear to be in extreme pain.

It’s possible she may have developed a habit of anticipating pain, and she still limps because that is what she has grown used to doing. It sometimes looks like she steps gingerly to protect herself, not because it hurts too much to walk normal.

Now, Delilah, on the other hand, is behaving quite the opposite. She keeps trying to act like she is fine, but continues to have moments of extreme pain. On Tuesday, we resorted to ordering x-rays of her spine and a more thorough blood analysis.

The results of her blood work are not in yet, but the x-ray showed a minor compression between discs 3 and 4. We were told there also appeared to be some abnormal marks or possible lesions on those vertebrae, which the vet is hoping the blood analysis will inform.

We have returned to restricting her movements to a bare minimum. Regardless, she continues to maintain a pretty happy attitude between moments of looking like she’d prefer to do nothing more than lay down and convalesce.

It’s been a long summer of rehabilitation for Cyndie’s shoulder, but it’s not over yet. She continues to have regular physical therapy appointments to improve range of motion. The good news after her most recent follow-up with the surgeon was that he deemed it unnecessary to put her under and break the scar tissue by force. The bad news was the alternative being extended PT with painful aggressive measures to do the same thing.

The therapist used the infamous “cupping therapy” to stretch the scarred tissue across the grain. Makes sense to us, despite a broad belief that cupping is pseudo-science and any benefits are from a placebo effect. Cyndie is growing tired of the pain from her exercises and the ongoing need to push her limits of stretching and rotation.

At the same time, she continues to find ways to function in her daily activities with only minor limitations.

The rest of us are enjoying a grace period of good health. The chickens will be seeing snow for the first time in their lives. Pequenita is happy to be an indoor cat. We brought the horses in out of the windy wet precipitation last night, but we’ll give them a short shift outside for some fresh air before letting them back into their stalls again tonight.

I avoided hitting any deer on my commutes this week. Yesterday morning, I was lucky to not be a part of a 10-car chain reaction crash,  –nor get caught in the significant backup of traffic behind it– when a vehicle hit a deer on I94, right at the bridge between Wisconsin and Minnesota. I had already passed that spot and was well on my way to work by then.

Everyday I don’t hit a deer in October and November is a successful day.

That’s my update on how everybody is doing today. We are thankful for all our good fortune.

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Written by johnwhays

October 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Odd Behavior

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After setting out a pan of feed for each horse after work yesterday, I walked down to close the gate to the hayfield, passing by the raised circle I had covered with lime screenings just over two weeks before. It’s a little surprising to me that the horses had, for the most part, stayed off the new covering. There were just a couple of light hoof prints from one horse where it had tested a small portion that had been tamped down by my feet.

The majority of the circle had been left to cure naturally in the rain and sun, because I didn’t have the time to press the rest of the area out, one little boot print at a time. Suddenly, I felt moved to spontaneously pick up where I had left off.

While they munched on their feed under the overhang, I meticulously began a ridiculous dance of baby steps across the circle. Occasionally, I would resort to hopping up and down in order to put increased pressure on spots that seemed to need it.

Always curious about every project we get involved in, the three chickens quickly arrived to investigate the scene. The flat lime screenings didn’t appear to harbor any crawling creatures, so they busied themselves with the dirt around the perimeter.

A few blinks later, I gained an audience of horses, apparently just as curious with my mysterious project. Luckily, they also maintained a cautious step away from interfering with my gyrations. At about ten times my weight, they would easily cause more disruption than compaction to the relatively new surface.

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If they can stay off of it until the freshly pressed screenings have another chance to bake in the sun for a few days, there is a chance it will support them without getting all pockmarked. Actually, what would be really nice is, if they would lay down and roll around on it.

That’s not too far-fetched a possibility. I’m guessing it will look like an attractive option, once they are convinced it’s safe to walk on.

Eventually, the horses and chickens left me to my odd behavior. I hopped and baby-stepped until the entire circle had been compressed by what little force I could generate from my small frame.

A little victory in the grand scheme of things deserving attention.

Add to that, getting the windows re-installed on the chicken coop, and taking down the tarp that covered the gazebo, and we are starting to round the final turn in the slow race of preparation for winter.

For those keeping score, we are expecting some snow will be mixed in with rain that is due to visit us tomorrow and the next day.

Now that I think of it, I guess that circle won’t really be getting baked hard as cement any time soon.

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Written by johnwhays

October 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

More Pics

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Our Saturday afternoon with Mike and Barb’s grandkids was so much fun, Cyndie and I keep finding ourselves bringing up memories of the day. There were so many wonderful moments, the photos spill over from yesterday’s post to today.

Thank you to Mike for sending us these precious images to share!

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Written by johnwhays

October 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

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Small Happenings

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There are days when the projects at Wintervale are a little less spectacular than others. On Friday, our order for a truck-load of gravel was delivered and I used the blade behind the tractor to spread it out. The results are subtle, but to my eye, it is a major improvement.

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It doesn’t make a huge functional change to life around here, but it bolsters the foundation of the rest of our operation. Infrastructure, baby!

The pile visible in the photo on the right isn’t more gravel. It’s the lime screenings that we distribute in the paddocks to improve the footing for the horses by reducing areas of mud. After heavy downpours, we use screenings from the pile to fill in the rills that may have formed.

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We had some other small happenings around here yesterday, and it made for a spectacular occasion. Our dear friends, Mike and Barb were able to bring their grandchildren, Jackson and Allie for a visit. It was a last-minute addition, and when the “surprise” opportunity was suggested to the kids, Jack’s response was, “Is it about a horse?”

By coincidence, young Jackson has a thing for horses. He also seems to have a strong intuitive sense, as well.

When they all arrived, the first order of business was to head straight to the barn from the car, instead of stopping inside the house. After a brief initial, and very cute, attention to the chickens, the horses pretty much ruled the day.

The kids took turns grooming and riding on Legacy, fed all the horses apple slices for a treat, helped with chores and feeding, and ultimately settled on reading some of the driest academic books from Cyndie’s library.

Despite Cyndie offering other options of kid books from the shelves, Jackson honed in on that section of horse books. When Cyndie was guiding them through one of the books, scanning the pictures and skimming the words, Jack wanted to know if she was “really” reading it, and where she was in the text about anatomy and physiology.

I’m not sure who had the better time, the kids, or the adults getting to witness their thrills.

Oh, there was also a dinner of some world-class grilled steaks. Thank you, for that, Mike!

No small happening, there.

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Written by johnwhays

October 22, 2017 at 10:29 am

Done Trenching

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We had a variety of options available to work on yesterday, but chose to stay with the project to bring electricity to the chicken coop. It seemed as though the chickens were wondering when we were going to show up. When I stepped out of the house, they were all up near the front door.

I turned back to warn Cyndie, because she was bringing Delilah out with her. Despite a recent occasion when I was distracted while holding the leash and Delilah jerked violently in an attempted chase after the chickens, Cyndie reports a series of well-behaved, closely supervised, successful passes between dog and chickens.

Delilah is acutely aware of the chicken’s presence as Cyndie leads her past for a walk.

Despite the third consecutive day of abnormal heat for September, we braved the blazing sun to complete the trench to the barn. That was not an easy feat, because the last stretch crossed an area where we had laid down a lot of gravel for the driving path extending beyond the back of the barn.

To put it mildly, it was rather unforgiving. That’s great news …for a road. Not so great for trench digging.

Once inside the barn, we routed the cable to the circuit breaker box on the far side. That was about the extent of energy we had left to offer. Final connections will wait.

The hard part is complete.

We are done trenching, thank you very much.

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Written by johnwhays

September 25, 2017 at 6:00 am