Sunday, January 17, 2016

Breakfast is served!

This past spring we bought 8 Americauns pullets to raise for eggs, but after 2 turned out to be roosters and a raccoon got in and killed 4 pullets, we decided to re-home the other 2 girls and try again.  In August we purchased 10 golden comets.  A breed that lacks beauty but makes up for that in personality and egg production.  (This breed is the friendliest breed of chicken we have ever had!)

The girls we purchased in August were born around the 4th of July, so we were expecting eggs at the beginning of November, however as Mother Nature's days get shorter, chickens don't produce eggs.  A hen needs 14-16 hours of sunshine a day to produce eggs, and where it is possible to supplement light during the winter to force a chicken to produce eggs, but that is not my style.  

I leave the egg production up to my chickens and their natural cycle.  There is a school of thought that hens actually stay healthier if they are not "pushed" to produce during the winter and even though our chickens are a food source for us and are not our pets, they are a living being and we try very hard to make sure we treat them fairly, with their best interest in mind.

Last week the temperatures got down into the low teen's and single digits, so I started turning the girl's heat lamp on for them just to keep them a bit warmer during those chilly spells.  (Before some of you start writing me to tell me heat is not necessary for chickens, I already know that.  I just feel like a little heat is a good thing when it gets bitter cold.)  Inadvertently, I must have stimulated a few hens into laying their first eggs, because today when I went out these beauties were waiting for me!

Breakfast is served!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Primal Dance

Animal care in the winter is a fine dance.  

With temperatures plummeting into the single digits, and snow flakes swirling around us, Lilly and I are diligent about making sure there is fresh water available to "the girls," and that our hens are tucked in well for the night.  

There is something peaceful about farm chores and knowing your animals are well cared for.  Some nights I sit in the garage, basking under the glow of our chicken's heat lamp, listening as the hens happily "chortle".  I get lost in the sound of their beaks eagerly pecking grain, and the rustle of straw under their feet.  

In a life where I sometimes feel as if I'm loosing myself, this primal dance brings me back and connects me to the earth.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Healing Hearts

Photo credit to Susan Johnson

Today was the day Star left for her new home, and I will miss her, but I will enjoy the break this gives me.

It feels good to know you have played a part in helping a damaged soul on to their next stage in life.
Therefore rarely, if ever, do I cry when a foster dog leaves.  In my mind, they don't belong to me, therefore they are not mine.  I don't get wrapped up into thinking that I am the best home or the only home for a dog, and I don't want to send them off on their next adventure playing off my emotions.  That would not be fair to the dog or their new owner.  

I am proud of this girl, and I know she will do well in her new home.  She has a great family who is very dedicated to helping her overcome her past traumas.  I have complete faith in this arrangement and I'm blessed that I was able to meet some amazing new people out of this experience.

I really struggled with my decision to quit rescue a year ago.  When I left I was so bitter and angry with the lack of humanity I saw on a daily basis, that I didn't look back or second guess my decision.  I have to admit though, it was nice fostering Star.  I enjoyed that instead of being in charge of the rescue bullshit and drama, I was able to just enjoy working with a dog.  Fostering for American Belgian Malinois Rescue was a dream and I would definitely work with them again.   They are top notch, and really care about the dogs under their care.  They were courteous, kind, prompt, and are the sort of folks that give rescue a good name.  It felt good to work with a group who had  the same "rescue morals" as myself.  It was perfect!

Perhaps this adventure helped to heal two hearts, the dog's and the human's.

Photo credit to Susan Johnson

Monday, January 4, 2016

To Her "Forever Family"......

Dear Forever Home,

     Soon I will be letting go of a piece of my heart, so your heart may grow.  Several months ago, we opened our home to a creature who was scared, shy, and knew little human kindness.  Today we are proud she is ready for the next step in life:  being loved by you!

     Please remember to be patient with her.  She desperately wants to please you, but fear overrides her mind frequently.  Pay attention and celebrate her small victories, for they are mountainous to her, and if you pay attention you will notice her moments of fear become less and less with each passing day.

     She looks innocent, but she's not.  Do not trust her to be left out of her crate.  I have lost a few socks because of that trick!

     She loves people and wants to be with you.  Because of that, she barks in her crate at night if the crate is not in your bedroom.  If she can see you, you will all be happier!  (If this is not an option, she does respect a citronella no-bark collar, and your house will smell fresh too!)

     She is coming to you with a solid "sit", a decent "down" and she is housebroken.  She is also coming to you well loved.  Please love her like we have loved her: unconditionally and without exception.  We have loved this girl boldly, and she is accustomed to being kissed, having her nose rubbed, ears scratched, and being told how beautiful she is.  Like most women, she especially loves to sit on the couch and eat cheese while you tell her how beautiful she is....

     Always remember, my phone number is 937-***-****.  If you ever need anything, I am only a phone call away.

     Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS!  You just adopted one hell of an awesome dog!