Sunday, August 20, 2006

What a weekend!

I haven't even had the time to get on line, which is unusual for me.

There is a new farmer's market in LeRoy, which is a little town somewhat to the south of us. The kids went to school there the first year we were here (when we were living at my parents' cottage), and we go to church there. So, we kind of have roots in that village.

After chores and the usual nonsense that goes with trying to get the kids into the van with all chothing and shoes necessary, we went to the feed mill for corn, laying mash (chicken feed), and horse chow. Then, we proceeded to drop a bunch of money at the market. Of course, I have no objection to supporting our local farmers. About half of the merchants there are Amish. They are good people who definitely have their feet on the ground.

Then, it was home for lunch. We were invited to a 4H picnic because the kids are in the Proud Equestrians program. Paul even won a trophy for "Most Reliable Rider".

It was a pot luck, so I boiled up some light brown, dark brown, blue, green, olive, and white eggs. I also made an apple cake with one of the jars of apple pie filling I had canned last year. The cake went OK, but the eggs were pretty much ignored. I later realized that blue and green eggs aren't as much of a novelty to the 4H types. Everyone concentrated on all the other goodies -- and there were plenty.

Interestingly enough, the Cadillac fair was actually smaller than the Evart fair (which had no entry fee). Still, I enjoyed looking at the animals. One family had four Alpine does (goats). Another family brought an African Pygmy goat. Those cute little things look like barrels on legs. There was also a young nubian wether (castrated male). There were sheep, but I don't know much about sheep (except that they are reputed to be extremely stupid). They had a barn with pigs and beef cattle, and I dutifully looked at them. Some of those pigs looked like they would produce some mighty fine bacon and ham. There was a barn with small animals (mostly rabbits, but also some guinea pigs and hampsters), and chickens. I really enjoyed the chickens. I wish they would put the breeds on the tags, instead of "clean legged bantams" or "feather legged bantams". They didn't have any full-sized birds, except for the market cornish cross (meat) chickens. For once, they actually looked happy and comfortable. Generally, it's so hot at the fairs that the meat birds lay down and pant. These birds were walking around happily (as much walking as a bird can do in one of those cages, that it).

The horses seemed to be the big point of the fair. They had two barns full of them. They were nice animals, too. Some were a little grumpy, but this is normal for the last day of the fair. Those animals get tired of being cooped up in those little barns.

I took a few pictures with the digital camera, but I wish I would have taken more. I tend to be more conservative when I only have 24 exposures. Ironically, I didn't end up using them up. By the time I decided to start using them up, it was too dark in the barns. For some reason, the flash on this camera overexposes badly. That's the last time I buy a camera manufactured by an electronics company. They get the electronics right, but the lens and the programming (exposure. in this case) leaves much to be desired. The next digital camera will be from a real camera company like Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sigma, or whatever.

After the picnic was done, the kids had their rides, and I was done looking at the animals, we went to Wal-Mart. I bought a 512 MB SD card for the camera. Now, I can take over 1000 exposures. Also, I don't have to worry about losing my pictures if I run out of battery (I think -- I ought to test that).

Today (Sunday), we went to church. Then, we had a few things to do here. We had gotten a bb gun last night, and the kids were all excited about that. Paul didn't even want to wait for me to sight in the scope (for six and a half bucks, a scope is nice). I spent a lot of time teaching him how to use it and making sure that he didn't do something stupid. He's getting more confident with it, but it'll be a while before he'll be allowed to shoot without adult supervision.

We had a black australorp and a leghorn go broody (want to hatch eggs). I can't find the australorp, but the leghorn was sitting tight. We put eggs in the broody house (former dog house) and placed her feathered tail upon them.

By the way, leghorns aren't supposed to go broody. They are an egg-producing breed, and the urge to go broody has been bred out of them. Nobody bothered to tell her that, though.

But I don't know what happened to the australorp. I hope we find her soon. She's probaly hidden a nest somewhere.

But that isn't the most fun of the day. No, indeed. You see, Mary is sure that Sarah (her horse) is pregnant. I doubt it, but she's the nurse, not me.

But before I tell you that story, I have to tell you this story.

Gabe and Paul (the two youngest) have been having arguments with some yellow jackets lately. They lost, of course. I'm getting pretty adept at grabbing a pinch of baking soda, wetting it, and putting it on the sting.

So today, Gabe started screaming and hollering. It turns out that there is a nest about half way down the hill, and he managed to get into it. He got about ten stings or so. One of the hornets even followed him into the house.

Anyhow, she is kind of round and bulgy (the horse, not Mary), but she doesn't look pregnant to me. Mary is sure that she is going to pop any minute, and is in a fuss about what to do if the foal isn't presented properly, and stuff like that. My theory is that horses have been doing this for thousands of years.

But anyhow, Mary asked me to come look at her. She tried expressing a little milk, and got a couple drops. She looked at the horse's butt. (Just what I always wanted to do, oh boy, oh boy. I wonder what's going on with those people who keep sending spam about um... action in the barnyard. I don't think I'll be visiting any of those sites.)

So, we approached Sarah, and she shied away. Generally, all I have to do is walk over and grab her halter, but she shied away and went down the hill and into the front woods. I got some of her favorite feed and Mary went after her. Mary caught her easily enough, and led her to the back yard. I let her stick her nose into the grain bucket, then took it away and jogged to the front yard where she was supposed to be grazing. She trotted after me and ate her food.

But then, Mary had to go to a friend's place for some supplies and information. I agreed to watch the horse and let her graze because she needs to get lots of energy for the impending delivery.

So Mary left, and I tied three lines together and tied it high in a tree. She grazed around happily. I only had to untangle her a couple times. It was getting dark, and she was starting to get jumpy. Just about when I decided that it would be prudent to put her into her pen, she decided to go down the hill, turn around a couple times, and get tangled in her lunge line. She was getting upset, so I ended up removing the line from the tree and releasing it. A horse that panics and gets caught in its lines can get seriously injured. A panicked horse is a force to be reckened with.

She was jumping around like something was really geting to her. I suspect that she got stung a few times. She went running around the back of the barnyard pen, and up the other side. As I was getting ready to go after her, I got stung in the left bicep.

To treat it properly, you need to put the baking soda on the sting within about a minute of being stung. I didn't have time for that. I had to chase her down as she went across the driveway, behind the garden, and into the middle forest. I finally caught up with her and managed to calm her down when she got to the north end of the garden. I led her back and put her in, but one of the goats snuck out. I was about ready to shoot her right there, but I lured her over with some branches of her favorite forage (I don't know what it is, but they sure go for it). I tossed her fuzzy butt back into the pen and went into the house and plastered my sting. The pain is pretty much gone now, but it took a while.

Mary got home and looked at Gabe. He is swollen, but otherwise fine. I know from experience that lots of stings can do that. When I got about 50 honey bee stings a number of years ago, I was alone at my parents' house. I called poison control and they said that if I could talk now, that I would be OK. I still called my grandparents to come and get me just in case. Besides, even when you're a cold war veteran in college, grandma and grandpa can always make you feel better.

So that was our weekend... ho hum. Now, I'm downloading a pile of emal and trying to catch up on the web comics. I have an interview tomorrow (Monday). Maybe I'll have time to upload some pictures to go with this entry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

About your mare, given the 'pointy' shape of the belly to me it looks quite possible that she is in foal! Your vet can confirm this with a rectal palpation and give you an idea of how far along she is... please have it verified as if she is in foal she will need extra feed in the last trimester and during lactation. Foaling in horses is extremely violent and rapid so things can go wrong very quickly if you are not ready for it...

3:57 PM  

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