The Villains

Every farm will have some sort of villain, if I let some of my theatricality show. More pragmatic writers likely refer to them as pests, predators, problems, you get the idea. On our farm we have been very lucky. The horses are easy, because none but the largest predators are a threat to them, generally speaking, and our geography doesn’t permit them to exist. Not to mention our two are young enough to handle themselves.

The birds are a wholly different manner. Ducks in particular are not able to escape predators as well as say chickens, especially considering ours our penned up. For the most part we have been lucky. Since setting up the most recent pen we haven’t lost a duck. I chalk it up to Lucy the goose, decent shelter, and them having good instincts.

So what then could possibly be my villains? Crows. I don’t know if anyone else run into this, but the crows have been stealing duck eggs. We moved in a new box for laying, and that seems to have helped, but there are some that still lay outside of it. Ducks are as concerned as chickens about where they lay. When we cleaned the pond we found like 30 eggs.

So, what to do? Soon, a scarecrow, and maybe some shiny things on the others side of the property. Any thoughts?

Hiatus and Changes

I’ve been away for some time. The readers who followed in the past know that I used to be a special education teacher. I left the profession, for at least a period, as of May. There are many reasons why I did that, but it just doesn’t belong on this blog. This is good and bad. The good is that I am on the farm more. and have time for projects (though honestly in summer heat that doesn’t mean much). The bad news is that our main income is now from Michael. The duck eggs we do sell don’t even cover the cost of feeding the flock, and we aren’t really equipped to expand them to try to improve this. Even if we wanted to, adding new fencing in any capacity is our Achilles Heel, to the degree that several of the chickens (to be extremely clear, the chickens are Michael’s project) have gone MIA. The neighbors asked us to pen them in since they were getting into their garden. Michael’s theory was to throw them in with my ducks. That didn’t bother me in the slightest, as the goose cares for my flock. The only issue with that is that my flock is fenced in with a height that works for my birds. Not shockingly the chickens flew the coop, but the rooster didn’t. Without the rooster the chickens are gone. I suspect and owl.

So, how can I help? One, I’m cutting costs anywhere I possibly can. Secondly, I’m looking at various projects I can make to sell, given the carpentry skills I have. We shall see.

A New Pet

It’s difficult to get a bird to be pet like, at least chickens and ducks. It certainly not possible oh, but it requires work. I tried this with my previous ducks however it did not work out. They are excellent egg layers but they’re still don’t particularly enjoy my company.

A new friend going to be another attempt. Her name is Puddles. We aren’t sure what her breed is, but I’m guessing Pekin. We are handling her daily, lots of treats and hoping for the best. Nothing is better than a fluffy yellow duck.

A Loss

It’s different when you’ve gone through it enough times. I’ve worked in a few commercial farms, so I know what it’s like to lose a horse. It’s harder when you don’t know it’s coming. When they’re young and the accident is unexpected. By that token, it means it’s easier when you know it’s coming, like when they’re old. We lost Blaze. He belongs to my friend, and he would have been 32 years old this spring. He has had arthritis for many years. His owner on the flipside, his owner is one of the most remarkable caregivers for a geriatric horse I’ve ever seen in my life. He had a standing appointment with the chiropractor, and specialty treatment for his body. What made it so difficult, as when he stopped being able to get up himself. After more than one week, with multiple warnings of us trying to stand him up, and succeeding with great effort, enough is enough.

We Accidentally Got Goats

Yes. The title is correct. We accidentally got goats. I can’t even make this up.

A friend works at a gymnastics gym. Lots of kids and they were in an industrial park. She calls and asks me to come and get them. She wants them ok and wants some. She even offered her SUV if we’d just come catch them.

There were 7, a mix of Boer, Nigerian dwarf, and maybe Pygmy. They are adorable, and we agreed because we can hold them for a bit. Except the part where I was accepted as new mom and they don’t want to stay in the fence.

The horses chased them which made me nervous, and with them getting into neighbors yard they were housed with the ducks.

Hopefully friend will be coming back for them. Honestly, I wish we were set up for them, because they are really friendly.

You Want How Much?

It isn’t a secret that our property has been a work in progress, to put it mildly, but we have made some good strides lately. We now have a pole barn (yes, pictures will come) but the horses don’t yet have access. It isn’t doing us much good right now. So, the obvious question, why don’t they have access?

We had a ton of young trees, no more than 7 or 8 years blocking the barn to the pasture. We found some general labor to work on that and the fencing since Michael and I simply can’t do everything while working full time. He cut down the trees, but then went poof. Seriously, finding good help is a bugger.

Anyway, so we now have all these trees on the ground, and the horses still don’t have access. Obviously, the trees gotta go. We band together with a friend and her husband who keep her horse on the property. After several hours of hard work we have a giant pile of boughs.

I went to get a quote for removing them and some other trash, nothing difficult, from the property. It was already piled. They wanted $1100! Y’all, have I gone into the wrong industry? I’m thinking its possible. In the mean time, we did not go with that route. Instead, a giant bonfire. We invited a ton of friends to keep it safe, and it was awesome. The old man horse, I need to add him to the about us page, was sneakily enjoying some heat I think, and our friends got to come and see the property. Win Win, but seriously y’all, who knew the garbage industry was making bank?!

Now What Part 3

There is a document we hand to parents at the beginning of a meeting. It is rarely read. It is called procedural safeguards, or parental rights. This document outlines what expectations there are for a student with a disability.

Why does it go unread? It is long, includes legal jargon and is difficult to understand. It matters, because there will likely come a time when you as the parent the are your child’s best advocate. Most teachers will be wonderful, but maybe not all.

Your rights are numerous, but here are the big ones you need to get.

1) Your child has the right to be served in the least restrictive appropriate environment. Meaning, they should spend as much time as possible in the general education setting as possible based on what is appropriate for their goals.

2) You have a right to attend meetings. Meaning, at least 3 attempts for 3 different dates must be made before a meeting can be held without your presence/consent

3) If you disagree with a decision made by the team you gave the right to challenge this decision in due process hearings.