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Monday, 30 April 2012

 

After examining well over 400 game camera photographs, it has come to our attention that we do not have a hog infestation on the ranch.  We have 9 regular inhabitants - 2 honking large sows and 7 fat little piggies.

Yes, still dangerous, but definitely not something we want to eradicate.  Since we cannot avoid having hogs on the property, we need to manage the hogs we have. Thus, we'll just take male piggies for butchering. (unless a sow attacks us or the dogs, then all bets are off. Die Piggy! Die!)

I've named this the Arnold Bunch.  Here's Arnold.

Even though Arnold appears to be male, I've asked the boys to leave Arnold because he doesn't blend. Arnold sticks out in the woods like a sore thumb.  I've been able to identify this pack when we surprise each other because of Arnold. 

In one set of pics I thought I had another bunch of hogs.

Then I found a dirty Arnold.

 See?  There he is on the left.

I'm sure there are other hogs drifting through the property, but since this is our resident group, and they have pretty predictable behavior, we agreed there is no sense in shooting them except to take male piggies for the freezer.  They are, in essence, the ultimate in free range pork.

 

But yes, I'm still carrying the AR-15. Do you see the size of those sows??!!  (Not giant by hog standards, but big enough to do a number on a pack of dogs and a lavender-loving human.)

 

 

 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 03:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 27 April 2012

 

My "bucket list" dream has been to ride an Andalusian horse through the lavender fields of Provence. Since I am highly unlikely to get to France anytime soon, and I've already got the horse,

I've decided to bring the lavender fields to me!  North and Central Texas is a good climate for lavender, so I've decided to start planting it on our ranch. Last month I set out $130 worth of little lavender plants of different varieties, in different spots. What makes it makes it, what doesn't will be cut from the team. 

I returned last week to find that wildflowers had exploded all over the ranch. The ranch was awash in bright colors and butterflies.

 

 Even weeds were beautiful when covered in butterflies.

 

I eagerly rushed out to examine my lavender.  Problem #1: finding it.

I hadn't counted on the abundant growth of grass and weeds in my absence. I couldn't even find many of the lavender plants that I'd carefully set along the red dirt road. 

Some I found, but they were struggling to compete. Problem #2: competetion

 

 It's alive . . . somewhere in there.

 But look at this one!

I had the best luck with the larger plants that were already established. Although they cost 3 times as much, they faired far better than the small plants.  Provence variety was the hands-down winner for the ranch too. 

 

When we move up there full time, and I'm better able to care for young plants, I can put in smaller plants and more varieties, but for now, I think my money is better spent putting in larger Provence plants.

What do you think?

 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:35 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 26 April 2012

 

There are certain mysteries in life that simply elude me - the pyramids, crop circles, Kardashian celebrities.  Most of the time I just shrug and move on but today's puzzle has me stymied.

 

Why, I ask you, can a person be in BFE (bum f*** Egypt) for almost a week, in a remote location with less than spotty cell phone reception and not spot ONE FREAKIN' SNAKE and yet, return home to find this in the feed bin with the oats . . .

I've named her Nadine.

Since we have a mouse problem in the barn and Nadine is a Rat Snake (I think!), she can stay. Unfortunately she is STILL camped in the feed bin, with at least six mice, so the horses will NOT be getting oats any time soon. I threw them hay this morning and advised them to be happy with it! I'll have to feed them out of a trash can until Nadine moves on. She has already eaten one, but it'll probably take her a while to go through the entire Stuart Little Family.

Nadine showed up yesterday. It boggled my mind that I spent almost a week looking for rattlesnakes at the ranch and saw nothing. I am NOT complaining. In no way, shape or form, am I COMPLAINING! Our neighbors 21 miles away found 5 rattlesnakes this weekend alone!

I returned home to the 'cow camp' house to find Nadine yesterday. (shudder)This morning while walking the dogs IN THE YARD, I saw a snake that looked suspiciously like a cottonmouth. (viewed from about 20 feet away) I quickly hustled seven dogs away and returned with a shotgun to find my snake had split. Well, not literally. If he hadn't been gone when I returned with the shotgun, THEN he'd be 'split.'

Truthfully though, unless he was poisonous, he'd have been safe too, because although I dislike snakes and they give me the willies, they 'do' have a place in the circle of life and I respect that.  On the other hand, poisonous snakes are not given such latitude.

 

So there it is, two snakes in two days - 45 minutes from the Big City. (shudder) I swear I heard the theme from JAWS this morning when I saw that snake in the yard. All I'm sayin' is that you shouldn't scare people who carry shotguns. I'm just sayin'.

 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 12 April 2012

I'm dating myself here, but many years ago, there was a commercial with a slogan that stuck. It said,

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Wise words to live by.  Which leads us to the Brainiac of the Day Award:

 Rocking RL Gunsmoke

Mr. Dillon!

The D-Man takes the Brainiac of the Day Award with his stunning display of 'true to his breed' characteristics.

 

Let me set the stage:

Am on phone with Neighbor discussing Mother. Note little green lizard in house. Catch little green lizard. Open window. Deposit lizard outside. He runs off. Close window. Note that D-Man has seen window open and comes over to investigate. Ignore him and return to conversation. Glance out window to find the D-ster with Little Green Lizard. Bang on window. D-Man looks up. Lizard scampers off. Clever-Fast-Chocolate-Predator snatches up Hapless Victim. Open window and scream at Chocolate Monster to release Victim. He ignores me.

 

"Surely there must be a misunderstanding. Perhaps Mom 'wants' this creature. After all, it smells like Mom's hand."

 

 Chocolate Monster scoops up Green Victim who is now turning brown and happily delivers him to the window. I open window to take Lizard. Lizard Dog releases Victim to my hand. Victim screams in silent terror. I drop him back outside where he runs off. Pull Chocolate Thunder through the open window. Continue phone conversation.

Note that Chocolate Thunder has disappeared. Hmmmm.... screen door is open. D-Man has let himself back out into yard through front door. Go to back window. Yes . . . Mr. Matt Dillon has run around the house, located the lizard, and is bringing me said Lizard . . . again. I open window and once again, he delivers a terrified but otherwise un-harmed brown lizard to me.  He climbs through window again.  Joy! Joy!  What a wonderful game for everyone - except the lizard!

 

Note: Although he is the only dog in the house who would even 'care' to fetch a lizard, fortunately for the lizard, he is also the only dog in the house who would not mangle the poor thing during the fetch. It's the small blessings in life we should focus on. (grin)

 

 

 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:45 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 11 April 2012

 


Michigan Sister asked about Montoya. What's his story?

 

Montoya was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father is the black Andalusian stallion, Conquistador, from Andalusians De Mythos. His mother is a beautiful Paso Fino mare who was a buckskin going grey. Montoya was born in Colorado and was a dark grulla color. 

For those of us not schooled in the elements of color, he was a product of the black mixed with buckskin gene. His mother also gave him the gene to go grey, and so although Montoya was born dark brownish grey, with black points and stripes on his legs, over the years he is slowly turning white.

It is said that a good horse can never be a bad color and so whatever color he is, Montoya is a character. He is easily identifiable in photos not by his color, but by his expression. I bought him as a weanling . He is registered as a Half-Andalusian. Montoya was impeccably started under saddle by Francine Dismukes and Malen Dell and by all rights he should have gone on to a show career, but he was saddled with me.

The delightful woman who has his sire arranged for Montoya to get a spot in a fancy Andalusian training facility. He was rubbing elbows with horses worth more than my house, and yet, I made it clear to Malen that Montoya would never have a show career. He was my therapy horse, my bird-watching horse, and my friend.

I explained that I was divorced and had a high stress job and Montoya was my therapy.  Montoya has soaked up many tears. Many nights I would come home from work, and tell Montoya what terrible thing had happened. There are few things more therapeutic than leaning against a horse while he's eating hay. The slow grinding of teeth grinds all your troubles away.

When he was a baby, I discovered Allen Pogue's Imagine A Horse website. I loved it!  Allen treats his horses the way I treat my dogs. Montoya is the first horse I've ever raised this way.  He learned tricks, and problem-solving skills, and became a highly entertaining and challenging partner.  Montoya loves to interact with humans.

Crusty old cowboys (like Other Half) call him "spoiled" but I prefer to think of him as a lovable engaged friend.  Where they see a meddlesome horse who doesn't know his place, I see a bored, intelligent creature who wants to entertain himself with your tools while you fix the fence.  Where they see a destructive animal, I see a creative creature who has found a new toy. (the red bobber underneath the float valve on the water trough)

One night, shortly after we moved over to the Cow House full time, Other Half was proudly showing me how Musket had learned to step over a blue plastic barrel in the round pen. Nice. And it was. Musket was a green-broke horse, not long out of the pasture. I should have stopped at merely complementing his horse, but the devil hopped on my shoulder and pushed the angel aside. (mostly because Other Half is always putting my horse down.)

So I called Montoya, who Other Half barely tolerates because he considers the horse to be a spoiled, "fairy tale" horse with no real purpose in life. 

 Fairy Tale Horse

 So my fairy tale horse walked into the pen, eager to play.  I pointed at the barrel and said

"Hey Buddy, look at that. Touch it."

Montoya hustled over to examine the new blue barrel. He'd never seen a blueberry blue barrel before and was quite intrigued. It ROLLED!  Yes!  YES! The barrel ROLLED!  And so I asked him to bring me that barrel.  And my good for nothing fairy tale horse rolled that damned barrel across the pen and brought it to me. Montoya and I are were both quite pleased with his fuzzy self. 

Now . . .  I'm sure there are crusty cowboys all across Texas asking themselves this one question,

"So what? What good is a fetchin' horse?"

To them I say this! 

BLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Give us a kiss!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:26 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email

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