New pasture for the horses.

The neighbor behind us used to have sheep in this pasture. Unfortunately the sheep were killed by coyotes and the pasture has been farrow for a few years. I finally got a hold of our neighbor and he said I could use the pasture for our horses.

I built a little gate and let them out into the long grass. They wandered around a while looking bewildered but now they are grazing up close to our back fence. I guess they don’t want to get too far away from home.

I can’t say I blame them. I love being here myself.

Near Death Experience!

“Look Mom!” Ryan practically shouted as he pushed open the sliding door with his forearm, cupping something small in his hands.  The urgent panic in his voice triggered me to jump from my seat at the sewing machine and rush to his side.

“What is it?” I asked, even before reaching him.

“It was in the water,” he explained.

It was a tiny baby bird — wet, very cold to the touch, and limp.  I didn’t recognize it was one of our chicks with it’s feathers plastered to it’s little body.  There have been a few baby birds found around the yard this spring, one alive and a couple dead, so I thought this might be another.

“It’s one of the chicks,” Ryan said.

He found the baby floating in the little red water container I had partially filled with water for the larger chickens.  I didn’t think a baby could get up into it.  I was wrong.

“Is it alive?” I asked.

“Yes, barely,” he said.  The little chick, only a week or two old, was cold to the touch.  Ryan breathed some hot breath on it as he had been doing.  It moved it’s mouth without a sound.

“We have to get it warm,” I said.  I knew just the thing.  We took the baby into my bedroom where I keep a heating pad near my bed.  Plugging it in we set the chick on a cloth on the pad and wrapped it like a taco.

“That cloth is in the way, the chick is not getting warm,” Ryan noticed after a few minutes.  We took the cloth away, risking some poop on the heating pad cover.  That worked much better.  The bedraggled little yellow and black baby gradually began making tiny little noises, little whistling peeps barely audible, though it’s body was still limp.

The seconds and minutes slowly ticked away and the chick was not showing much improvement, so I got out the blow dryer and, on the gentle warm setting, began blowing the pitiful little thing with warm breezes, keeping my hand on the chick to make sure the heat was never too much, but also knowing that a mother hen has a higher temperature than we humans do (about 104-107 degrees), so I knew the baby chick would be fine with that level of heat.

The warm air was working much better than the heating pad alone.  I kept the chick on the pad, taco style, while at the same time blowing the gentle warm breeze on him (him, her, who knows?).  Eventually one eye peeked open and shut again as the tiny whistling cheeps faintly continued.

I’m not sure how long the blow drying took all together, but the chick gradually began to get some control over his body.  First, flopping around, trying to get some balance.  That led to him sitting on his haunches.  Then after more time, sitting on his feet.  When the breeze was on his face he would open his mouth and move his head around a little, sometimes shaking it.  When the breeze caressed his back he would rest, eyes shut, and take in the warmth.  Made me feel good just watching the weak little thing enjoy the warm air massage.

The little fluff feathers were beginning to puff up, especially on the head and back, but underneath the feathers were still damp.  I tried to move him to dry his belly, and he started flopping around, trying to get control of himself.  Finally, while the heating pad taco helped support him, he was able to stand on his feet, which gave me a much better angle in which to reach the under side fluff from either front or back.  His eyes were open more now.  His little cheeping sounds were amazingly steady though not loud.

It took awhile for his belly fluff to dry out, and for him to feel warm to the touch finally!  After awhile I wondered if he would be strong enough to go back with his mother and three siblings for the night, or if we should keep him in the house a little longer, under a heat lamp.  He was completely dry now, and standing on his own . . . even trying to walk around a little bit.  I continued drying and warming him as I thought.  It was getting late.  The hens would be roosting soon.  The weather was windy and chilly.  As I pondered the possibilities for his night time care he let out the unmistakable chirp of a baby chick who has lost track of his mother!  “CHIRP!”  It was LOUD!  Then some more, “CHIRP . . . CHIRP . . . CHIRP!”

These cries were very different from the previous weak whistling chatter he was making.  These cries were strong and demanding.

I had Ryan take the chick back outside and put him with his mother, hoping for the best.  Ryan watched for awhile, making sure the baby was being cared for, then came in.  Momma hen had settled down in her favorite spot for the night.  Her three other babies were around her.  Ryan was not sure if the traumatized baby was with her or not, but didn’t see that chick anywhere else.  We hoped the tired little one was snuggled up against his mother’s warm belly.  Soon the other chicks went under their mother for the chilly, windy night.

The next day, momma hen and her four babies were up and about as usual; scratching at the leaves and debris, pecking at little bugs, and moving as a group here and there.  I could not have told you which one we nursed back from the brink of death if I had tried.  He is doing very well still.

Mairsiedotes Wears a Saddle for the First Time

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Mairsiedotes wearing the little kids saddle I just got. She did very well wearing a saddle for the first time. Cinch not very tight.

We took Mairsiedotes for a little walk to continue her ground training.  An added benefit is that both Honey and Bay spend this time running around their corral wanting to be with Mairsiedotes, so they get their exercise that way.

Below is a video of her trotting with John leading.  We did some starts and stops with her on this walk.

OK, I think I am straightening all this out.

My “Paradise Petting Farm” website is found at http://www.paradisefarm.sitey.me   It is still under construction but you can see some of the things I am going to be offering.

This website, micheleballantyne.com , my WordPress site, will remain my blog place and my art place.

My “Survival Skills” website is under construction and will be for children and their families.  We will have friction fire workshops, debris huts, cordage, primitive pottery, camouflage, and awareness games including capture the flag in the dark using camouflage and two camps with fire pits for the team to sit around and guard the flag.  that game is all about stealth and being invisible, not about running or speed.  Really fun!

More later . . .

Bringing a Vision to Life — PARADISE!

Tender ones.
Tender little ones.

Visions are evolving things.  As we journey through life we are drawn to things that interest us.  I have often wondered about my vision in life because my view of anything in the future, other than children, has always been Continue reading “Bringing a Vision to Life — PARADISE!”

New Year is Here!

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My Shetland stallion Trigger learning to “pose” for the county fair.  Notice him biting my shirt!

New Years Eve is here and the Christmas Holiday is past.  Time to clear the decks for another wonderful year.

It’s funny how, even with all the crazy and often extremely difficult experiences in my life, I always feel somewhat like a princess, spoiled with love by the Great Everything.  Maybe being brought up by loving parents who praised us kids and seldom criticized has something to do with my perspective.

In my senior year high school social studies class I learned that our family income fell within the “poverty” level in the USA at the time.  I was shocked because we always had what we needed: food, clothes, a place to live, and even luxuries like TV’s, stereos, etc.  I guess the fact that most of the things we furnished our home with, and clothed our bodies with (unless we sewed them ourselves), and drove around in, were from garage sales or inexpensive secondhand, which allowed us to have many things we couldn’t otherwise have had.

Sure there were things we did without, like expensive family vacations to Disneyland or Hawaii, or being able to own some of the big beautiful horses I used to dream about (I was a horse loving girl from the age of 2!).  However, I did get to buy a Shetland pony when I was twelve, which I paid for with my babysitting money, then later a Morgan/Welsh yearling filly. also with my babysitting money.  My dad, who is an extremely gregarious person, found those deals for me through people he knew, and also free places within a block or two from home to keep my pets while I had them.  I believe allowing me that luxury and responsibility as a young person was probably one of the best things my parents did for me, aside from being kind and good to us children.

Now, at fifty-nine I am in the second half of my life (unless of course I live to be 120 which I think would be cool).  Most of my nine children have grown and have families of their own.  I am so grateful for everything in my life, past and present, the good and the bad, because I have learned so much from each and every experience.  I am grateful for the ability to choose, to make mistakes, to be able to listen to those who have more wisdom and make to better choices.  I am grateful for that still small voice that I’ve learned to try to listen to, which guides me for good and helps me avoid pitfalls and frustration.

I am looking forward to this new year with hope and joy.  I am on an upswing and that feels great!  I hope everyone has a new year filled with joy and love and experiences that bring us all closer to wisdom, love, and peace.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

Progress on Horse Barn

Pictures from top to bottom:

First picture is of all four stalls looking down the hallway from the end stall which will be an open area.

Second picture is showing one of the stalls and the front wall.

Third picture is showing the barn roof from the roof of the art cottage next to the barn. The red roof area is where the hay is stored in the horse barn.

The fourth picture shows where the corner of the barn roof ran into the art cottage roof so I modified the corner of the barn roof to fit over the art cottage roof.

So far the barn is made of eight small sections. Once the overhang area is completed there will be 12 small sections each under 200 ft.²