Monday, July 17, 2017

Fly Spray Concoction

Unless you are a donkey owner, you would never guess how persistent and overwhelming flies can be to donkey legs.  I never had the numbers of flies attach themselves to horse legs with the three horses I have owned.  Donkey legs are another matter entirely, especially Luigi legs.

Because it's a daily battle and I spray those legs every single day, I prefer to use plant based formulas. However, the flies have been so tenacious the past 10 days or so, I have been playing with some alternate methods (more on that in the next post).  Nothing is doing the job as I'd like.

As I was wandering the the internet searching for more possibilities, I found a DIY fly repellent using essential oils.  As I perused the list, I realized I had most in my EO stash and decided to give it a whirl.

  
The recipe is as follows:

Refreshing Fly Blend by Nan Martin

§  5-10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Tea Tree or Melaleuca Alternifolia Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Idaho Tansy Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
§  5-10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Drop each of the oils into a 32 oz spray bottle and mix with water.
Source: Equimed


I had everything I needed except the Idaho Tansy and had to substitute Lemon Myrtle for the Lemongrass.  But then I got thinking (uh oh).  Would the oils mix with plain ole' water?  I again looked online, found suggestions for emulsifiers and then asked husband Rick, the biologist/chemist in the family.  His suggestion of vigorous shaking just before applying said concoction served my purpose.  

I've only been experimenting for a couple of days but thus far, I'm pleased.  I'll have Luigi report back after a longer test period.  


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Donkey Pastures, Mowing, and Les Fleurs

A few days ago, the donkey pasture was calling to be mowed.  Naturally, I obliged.
I try to look my best for all occasions and I did not want to disappoint for this event.


My favorite straw hat, oversized t-shirt, University of Michigan shorts, and barn sneakers completed the ensemble.

It's no secret, I have been approached by Vogue for a cover shoot.









A sense of sadness prevails as all the wild daisies are cut down.















Although the wild daisies perished, some of the cultivated flora are flourishing.

clematis

 lovely marigolds by the swing 
(positioned to view the braying hyenas and clucks)


As the Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus bloom, I just know you'll be wanting to peek at their magical beauty too. 
And if you're very good, I'll share some more magical beauty of two mischief-making miniature monster donkeys.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fan Addendum, or, The Case of the Silly Kitty

You've all met Moose (Dusty) previously.  My (our) indoor/outdoor 18 year old cat.


One of his favorite places to hang out in the morning is the back of the recliner.  Or next to me on the couch with the dog.

Unless it's hot out.  The hotter the better as far as he's concerned.  And then he's insistent that he lounge on the deck... for hours.






If I get concerned about the length of time he's been roasting in the heat and ask him to come in, he gets coquettish and rolls around making cute cat-like conversation.  

But refuses to come in.

On days like today when it's a lovely 70 degrees, he stays in the house.












He's just a crazy kitty.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fans for You, and You, and You, and Me

It's just not summer unless you hear the hum of a fan or two in the background.  And feel the circulating air dry the perspiration after mowing the lawn (or pasture).  

I guess it's because when I grew up, there was no air conditioning in the house for years. Dad would put the box fan in the bedroom window at night to help cool things down.  When we did leap into the world of cool air, we depended on window units, the noisy buggers.

Anyway, fans serve many purposes around here.

Cooling off donkeys and helping to keep the nasty nasty biting flies at bay is pretty important.

For that purpose we use an old metal box fan.  

For the record, I am oh so partial to metal fans.

I try to aim the air right at the hay rack so as they eat, they feel the benefits.

Because Rick insulated the chicken coop, and it has cross ventilation, the heat does not build up too badly for the girls.

 insulation on 3 walls 

But, because I like to feel fan air blowing on me, I assume the chickens feel the same way, right?

So they have their own fan too.












And at night I've started putting it in the coop window.  Like father, like daughter.

Sadly the chicken fan is plastic and the small one sitting in the dining room, primarily for the dogs is plastic.
I can't show you my favorite fan.  A brushed copper tall floor fan that sits in the doorway of the sunroom, directed into the living room.  If I took a picture of that fan, you'd see the mess behind it, and that just won't do.

Sometimes I have a fan or two going in the house even when the AC is on.  I just need my fans.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Gang Hits Sleepy Town

I have run into a gang of hooligans.  Moderately malicious but not terribly violent.  Troublemakers to the core.

It's a gang of two.  Their escapades develop in broad daylight.  Yes, they are bold.

I have observed that the ringleader changes...with the wind.

And here you have it.
The "do-anything-to-get-the lid-off-the-garbage-can-holding-the-grain-and-tip-it-over" gang.

I was able to sneak up on their most recent malicious adventure and record the beginnings of mayhem.

You can see the nonchalance with which they approach the targeted can.  They are wily devils.  This is in broad daylight remember.  Thank goodness there were no weapons involved.

And, bingo, contact has been made.
At this point I was unsure whether to call the authorities, but refrained for fear of retribution from the gang members afterward.

But I now have the evidence, in safekeeping.

The moral of the story:  please, please safeguard your grain-filled garbage cans.  These marauders can get desperate.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fragility

I'm realizing how the loss of Alice, Francesca, Emmy Lou and Dottie in a short period of time has caused me to be aware of the fragility of life on a daily basis.  Every day when letting the chickens out for their free-range time, I tell them to be careful and I anxiously count heads when I call for their return to the coop.  I need four to return.

So, let's tell the girls how special they are.





My confession is this.  I would be heartbroken if something happened to Sweet Pea.

She is my #1 helper during morning chores, following around the donkey yard.  And chatting the whole time.  Actually it's the only way I can tell the difference between her and Buffy.  Sweet Pea is full of talk, talk, talk.  The few times she's been in the coop in a nesting box during morning chores, the silence has been deafening.











  




This little girl is actually quite full of personality, but instead of "helper" I'd term Jo "the snack queen".  In the mornings, as soon as I open the big door to the coop, out they all rush to do some early exploring.  But sure as shootin', Jo will rush back to see if any snacks have been distributed.  Often she's so anxiouson,  she'll sit in the snack bowl.  I have to lift her out and explain that doesn't really expedite the process.









Ruby Dee is one of the two remaining original girls (the other is Sweet Pea).  Ruby used to be my helper but apparently relinquished the position for reasons unknown to me.  And she does tend to whine.

On a recent morning instead of throwing them banana, they got nice juicy blueberries.  Ruby checked one out and just looked at me.  Clearly that blue thing wasn't a banana.

Her other idiosyncracy.  Pecking feet.  Sandaled feet.  Although (knock on wood) it hasn't happened recently.  when it does I tend to first yelp and secondly yell out "Ruby Dee, knock it off!!"  From the look on her face, I know she knows.









This is Buffy.  I dare you to differentiate between Buff and Sweet Pea.

Buffy is the loner and, although has been with my crew for two years, is still somewhat skittish.  Jo, on the other hand, has been here for two months and feels right at home.





OK, readers.  On the count of three, remind everyone 
Stay Safe, Please!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spring Babies

If you drove up to our home, you might look askance at the "beauty" of a Christmas wreath still hanging.  Your left eyebrow might raise in a quizzical look as you turned to say "Why?"


It used to be a beauty, but it's luster has faded.
And yet it remains, because...


Two robins selected that innovative location to build their spring nest.  A few weeks ago we would have disrupted the eggs if the wreath had been disturbed and now, we would disrupt the babes.

Look carefully, and you'll see a beak and a head.  We think there is at least one more young 'un in there, but Rick was perched on a ladder trying to get a peek so we're not entirely sure about the full brood.

So, it will stay Christmas at our house for a bit longer.  And that's fine with us.