Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hunters - hate 'em

Hunting season is striking early at Pirate's Place Farm. For the last twenty years, hunting season has meant Trespassing and Poaching season on my property. It's not even official hunting season yet and a ten point buck has already been poached and my friend and his grandson have been unpleasantly confronted in my woods. I've spent the afternoon on the phone trying to find the supervisor of the man who yelled at them. He claims to be a conservation officer but none of the supervisors will claim him because he doesn't wear a uniform. His conversation with my friend proved he is the trespasser who has been causing me a lot of grief for the last couple months - leaving my road gate open, leaving barn doors open, leaving barn lights on - all of those things that leave a message that someone without permission has been there.

The story is that Mr Gooding, whose property is next to mine, called this morning because there was a strange truck parked in his driveway early this morning. He apparently foolishly gave some men permission to take "nature walks" in his woods - and it turned out they are really poachers. Allegedly Jason Smith responded to the call and caught two men with a ten point buck, but one of the men escaped and ran across my property. So, just like the trespasser/poachers who always say they are only on my property because they wounded a deer and it ran onto my property, Jason Smith ran onto my property and confronted my friend and his grandson. No escaped poacher seemed to be anywhere around. What he did today was annoying, but add up what he's been doing to me for weeks and I think it's criminal.

Someday with all of the crazies who illegally hunt in woods there is going to be a terrible accident. The area just isn't big enough for a bunch of armed men to shoot at everything that moves and never hit each other, and, at the moment, I wouldn't feel bad if the man who has been scaring me for weeks was an accidental target.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gibby's Maybe Friends

Gibby's potential friend, the nine year old black lab, was still at the dog pound today - but, she has been adopted. I was a little disappointed for Gibby, but very pleased for the old girl. Then I met the two women who have adopted her. They are adopting dogs who are on their last day, last hour, and taking them home to find new homes for them. I tried to have a conversation with them but the dogs were barking so loud it was impossible. There was one dog who fit what I'd like to find for Gibby but he wouldn't stop a horrible high pitched bark. The only comment on his registration card was, "barks too much". There was another perfect dog. He looked like a smaller Gibby. I could tell he was sick of the barking, too. He gave me a look that said as much and then went out through the opening at the back of his cage. I walked around a second time, came back to "Little Gibby" and he plastered himself against the cage wall. I reached my fingers through to pet him and he pressed harder against the wall - by doing that, he reminded me of George. I think he is up for adoption in a couple days. I think I'll go back again to see him.
I tried to upload a video of the kittens born on the porch where I feed my cat colony, but it didn't work, so the following is the youtube address for that video.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Newborn Kittens

After I fed the cats and chickens today I was walking across the yard to play with Gibby when I heard a crying cat. I walked back over toward the porch where I feed the cats and found a newborn kitten on the plastic tray where the cat food is served. It's probably going to be a yellow kitten, but it was still too wet to tell. I went to the car to get my camera and then sneaked back to take some photos. While I was photographing the yellow kitten, I realized the mother cat was having another kitten. I'm sorry she decided to have her kittens on the cement porch, but maybe they just surprised her and started popping out. Blackie, the grand dame of farm cats, is the grandmother of the kittens, and she stopped by a couple times to see how her daughter was doing. Some of the other young cats looked in, saw the baby, and left.

Gibby is Independent & Still Single

I had about an hour today to get a little painting done on my front porch. The porch has been a ten year project and it's almost finally complete. Last summer I had some boys install a recycled door, and they surrounded it with plywood made from wood chips that was left from re-roofing the other house. Painting it wasn't fun, the paint didn't want to stick, so I only did the bottom sections. I think I'm going to have to cover the boards with cedar shingles, which will make the porch match the rest of the house anyway. While I was painting, Gibby decided he didn't need a

person to throw the ball for him. He proved he could be perfectly happy playing by himself. At first, he

grabbed his volley ball and tossed it around some, then he switched to stick tossing and chasing.

I wasn't able to get through to the dog pound to check on the lady lab - I'll just have to hope she is still there by Monday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Gibby Companion?

I stopped at the dog pound yesterday. I saw about a dozen dogs that were very appealing, but one has stayed in my mind. She's a nine year old black lab. She was in the same "stall" that Gibby was in. She was quiet, sweet, and hopeful. She looked like a really good dog who has lost her family. She must not have been a stray, must have been turned in by her family, because there was information on her card - she's never bitten and she is house trained.

A nine year old wouldn't make much of a playmate for Gibby, but might make a good companion. My other labs lived to be sixteen and seventeen, so she might have some really good years left. I've been thinking maybe no one will adopt such an old dog.

I think I'll give the pound a call tomorrow and see if she is still there.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

These are the last of my horses. Four horses, retired before they worked very hard. On the far left is Weaver, the last offspring of my beloved stallion, Dan Bally. The next one is a black gelding named Skedadle Man, called Manly, out of a beautiful bright bay mare named Skedadle Dandy, out of my all-time favorite mare, Tempatation Dandy. Facing away from the herd is Lacy, mother of Weaver and niece to Temptation Dandy. Dandy's sire was Jim Dandy, the first Quarter Horse stallion to stand in Michigan - back when I was a toddler. The buckskin mare on the right is Tammy, formally named Tam Burn after her sire, Big Burn. She is out of Chi Chi Deck and half sister to the best horse I ever had, Miss Shiloh Deck. That bloodline goes back to Top Deck, a Thoroughbred stallion who established modern Quarter Horse race breeding.
I've always wanted to have sheep at the farm, and now I do. They aren't my sheep, they belong to Jim, the neighbor who has helped me a lot. A friend loaned him the movable pen set-up that can be electrified with solar energy, so he has about 20 of his sheep in my hay field. They're helping to clean it up to get it ready for haying next year. My vet says a good rotation program to keep down parasites is moving them about once a week, but Jim is moving them every other day. I haven't been in the field to see them moved, but I'd like to see how he does it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gibby Video

A new video camera has enabled me to post a video of Gibby playing - with his friends and with his old volleyball.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cats Here, Cats There, Millions and Billions and...

Cats here, cats there, cats and kittens everywhere!!
This is about 90% of the feral cat colony that owns my farm.
The idea of free-roaming farm cats is that the cats will eat the mice. Ha! A few days ago, I was about to fill one of the horse water tanks and saw something floating in the water - I had my gloves on, so I grabbed it - a dead mouse. That happened three more times.
Four drowned mice, see how they run, they all run after the cobbler's wife, who cut off their tails with a butcher knife, four drowned mice.