Tag Archives: animal lovers

Texas Birds of a Different Feather

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My husband captured these shots this week.  The group of vultures were roosting on one of our old trees that fell victim to the recent years of drought here in Texas.  The male painted bunting stopped by our koi pond for a quick bath.  I wish the bunting photos were a little better, but we had to take them through the glass of our back window.

The Incredible Edible Egg and Putting the Chic in the Chicken Coop

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When my family moved to our country home in 1995, we were eager to embrace all the wonderful opportunities that country living had to offer.  We mended the old fence and barn and soon added our share of farm animals to complete our little country haven.  Our animal menagerie included a flock of laying hens and a rooster to give us fresh eggs, but over the years our flock decreased and eventually our fresh egg production came to an end.

Recently, after purchasing a $4.00 carton of organic cage free eggs, I discovered all the eggs were disgustingly runny and obviously inedible.  Having this less than satisfactory experience with store-bought eggs, and being aware of the absolute horrors chickens have to endure in the commercial egg production industry, we decided to rebuild our chicken coop and start enjoying our own farm fresh eggs again.

My husband spent all weekend building the new coop and we went to our local feed supplier and bought 4 baby turkeys, 10 chicks and 1 rooster   Like our Rat Terrier, I too find watching the baby chicks completely spellbinding and I have begun to named them based on their personalities.

My favorite is the largest Black Spanish turkey that I have named Hey Zeus.  He is just a baby, but he’s already trying to strut his stuff.  I don’t think the girls are impressed, judging by the expressions on their faces.

Now for my contribution to the new chicken coop; the decor.  My husband is quite the handy man and we always have wood scraps leftover from past DIY projects.  I found these weathered wood scraps and thought they would work out great for making some homemade signs.

Next I gathered up my acrylic paint, paint brushes and paint sponges.  Then I painted the wood a solid color and outlined the edge with a contrasting color, creating a framed effect.

Then I purchased two different stencils.  One was a cursive type and one was block type letters

Using a sharp pencil, I traced out the word Farm Fresh on the wood using the cursive letters and the word EGGS using the block letters.

Then I highlighted the word Farm Fresh in a bright yellow and painted white eggs around the word EGGS.

Next I carefully painted in the words. You will need a steady hand and a very small detail paint brush.

And here’s the finished product.  Add some eye hooks and a chain to hang it and throw on a couple of coats of clear polyurethane to weatherproof and it’s ready for the coop.  Now to decide what to put on the other two signs.

The coop will only be used to protect the babies while they are growing.  As soon as they are big enough, the door to the coop will be left open and they will have free access to the yard and pasture, as nature intended.  If you would like to help support current legislative efforts in banning the barbaric and cruel practice of battery caged chickens in the US egg industry; please visit the Humane Society of the United States website by clicking on this link:  Help Improve the Lives of Laying Hens

The following information was taken from the Penn State Live website.  You can click on the heading below to see the full article.

Research shows eggs from pastured chickens may be more nutritious

The study compared the eggs of the pastured hens to those of hens fed a commercial diet.

“Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,” she said. “Vitamin A concentration was 38 percent higher in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the commercial hens’ eggs, but total vitamin A per egg did not differ.”

 “Eggs of the hens that foraged grasses had 23 percent more vitamin E than eggs of hens that foraged clover. “Results suggest that grass pastures may enhance vitamin E in eggs of pastured hens more than clover,” she said.”

You of Ebony Eye

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Young, beaten, starved you came
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Tango is the dance for us
I bend and twist to your lead
You show me the steps
We perfect our dance
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Trust is the virtue we build
I bend and twist to your lead
I give you sustenance
You nourish my soul
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Time the harbinger that foreshadows
I bend and twist to your lead
Grizzled and gray we race
You take the lead
Furlong by furlong
I am left in the dust

For Cody, today his 24th birthday.  May we have many more my old friend.

It’s Twister Time in Texas

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Living in Texas, tornadoes are just something we have to deal with.  I have witnessed the wreckage and have been within just a few miles of the path of several storms, but never have I actually seen a tornado up close… until yesterday.

Rachel, my oldest daughter is a Marketer in the medical field and yesterday I decided to tag along on a few of her calls.  Suddenly, as we were driving, the sky began to get very dark and it began to hail.  We stopped under an overpass to get out of the hail and within a minute or two the hail stopped.  Then everything got real still, that’s when all hell broke loose.  I did not film this video but we were one exit to the north, and as we turned to the left and looked behind us, this is what we saw. 

 

Twelve different tornadoes ripped across Texas, leaving behind a path of utter destruction, but as of yet no fatalities and very few injuries, which is a miracle in itself.  I awoke this morning to the birds singing and the sun shining.  In true Texas fashion, the weather today is glorious.  Not a hint of the fury unleashed upon us yesterday.  What a perfect day to count my many blessings, snap a few photos and not look back on what could have been.

 

Frogs, Dogs, Various and Sundry Others: Part 2 – Bubby

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God knew what he was doing when He brought my husband into my life.  I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with someone who doesn’t love animals and nature as much as I do.  Luckily, my husband grew up on a ranch in Montana and has been around dogs, horses and livestock his whole life.  I genuinely believe that people are guided into our lives for a reason, and not just by chance.  The first time I looked into my husband’s eyes, the strangest feeling came over me.  It was as if I recognized him, like he was a part of my family, even though we had never met before.  So, it really was love at first sight and we soon discovered we were very compatible in many ways, not least of all our love of animals.

As our life together progressed, it was quite natural for me to give him a burro for his first father’s day gift, and just as natural for him to give me a goat for my birthday.  Our girls grew up with dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, ferrets and even a racoon or two.  We rescued this litter from a friend’s attic after the mother was found dead.

Our home life was great and there was never a dull moment around our house, but each year we couldn’t wait for June to finally arrive.  This meant the girls were out of school for the summer and we were headed to the Texas Hill Country for another camping adventure.  Of course, this also meant making arrangements for our animals to be cared for in our absence.  One year, all plans had been made, my parents were going to take care of the animals.  Our camping gear was packed and we were planning to head out right after the Memorial Day weekend.

One morning, the week prior to leaving for our trip, we woke up to discover that one of our goats had given birth to a healthy billy kid.  Sadly, she was struggling to give birth to a second kid and she desperately needed help.  We immediately took her to our Veterinarian, but unfortunately she and the second kid did not survive and we were left with the orphan kid to care for.  We headed to the store, purchased a bottle and some goat’s milk, and proudly became the new parents of a baby billy goat.

Instantly the girls fell in love with him and dubbed him Gruff, as in the fairly tale the Three Billy Goats Gruff.   We soon found out that much like a newborn infant, caring for a baby goat is a round-the-clock job with feedings every 3 to 4 hours.  My parents were glad to feed and water our other animals every day, but bottle feeding a newborn goat every couple of hours was a little bit much to ask of them.  Not willing to give up our greatly anticipated vacation, we decided to take Gruff camping with us.  We bought some powdered kid milk replacer, several gallons of bottled water, made a snug little bed for him in one of our large dog travel kennels and we were off.

He was actually a lot easier to travel with than any of our dogs ever were.  He followed on our heels everywhere we hiked and was always the center of attention with our campsite neighbors.  It turned out to be a great vacation and wonderful memories were made for all of us.

We returned home and Gruff settled in as the newest member of our family.  Being raised in the house and yard rather than the pasture, he was totally unaware of the fact that he was a goat, and therefore considered himself to be a dog.  He would run down to the front gate with the dogs to greet our visitors.  And like most members of this family, he soon got his very own nickname.  Maybe because he was the closest thing to a little brother my girls would ever have, they started calling him “Bubby”.  He was known as Bubby for the rest of his life and brought us so much love and joy.  I can still hear the girls calling his name, BUBBY!  Then you would hear a high-pitched mehhhh!  And Bubby would come running to them.

He lived to have many great years as our beloved pet.   When he closed his eyes for the final time last year, I cried like a baby.  We are so blessed that you were a part of our lives.  Until we meet again on the Rainbow Bridge, I will continue to love and miss you, my sweet Bubby.

Bubby
May 1998 – October 2011

 The Rainbow Bridge http://petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm

Frogs, Dogs, Various and Sundry Others: Part 1

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved animals.  As a child of three or four, after being read The Frog Prince, my mother found me in the bathroom holding a poor frog in the sink.  My mom said, “Sister, what in the world are you doing with that frog?”  I replied, “I’m giving him a bath so I can kiss him to see if he’ll turn into a prince.”  I have no idea what I planned to do with him once he did turn into a prince, my plan was not very well thought out at that age, but I did know I wanted him to be clean first.  I’m still a little quirky about things needing to be clean.  Anyway, I digress.

Much to my parents chagrin, I’ve always been one of those kids that brought home every stray animal I came across.  My first dog was a stray Australian Shepherd pup that I called Snoopy.  He was my best friend and constant companion for many years.

I can’t imagine a child growing up without the opportunity to care for and love a pet.  Thank God my parents allowed me to have all of my pets over the years.

As a teenager, shortly after getting my driver’s license, I hit a big jack rabbit.  Mortified and close to tears, I cautiously got out of the car and went back to check on him.  I didn’t see any injuries, but he was knocked out cold.  I grabbed him up and placed him on the back seat of my car and started home.  Before long, he regained his faculties and was doing a very good impersonation of “Ping, Ping, PING! Ricochet Rabbit!” all over the inside of my car.  When I finally pulled over, I was screaming as if a machete wielding Jason Vorhees himself was sitting on the seat beside me.  I threw open the door and sprinted halfway down the road before looking back over my shoulder.  Out leapt Mr. Ricochet, none the worse for wear, and happily disappeared into the neighboring field.  Tricks apparently aren’t just for kids after all.

To be continued…