Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ode to Ethel the Cow

Skinny and lumpy from a life of toil,
Some say you should've been named "Olive Oil".
Your hips stuck out, you looked frail,
Life's not easy when attached to a milk pail.
We brought you home with Herman, the freebie.
You didn't like him and thought he was dweebie.
Your pasture was large with lots of green grass,
You ate so much grain it gave you a fat ass.
Herman came to join you and be your friend,
You found yourself loving him in the end.
Now you are up in the big pasture in the sky.
When I eat your ribs they're so tasty I could cry.
I hope your life with us was very nice,
I really appreciate your ultimate sacrifice.
I say all my animals are lucky to live on my farm.
I really love them and try to keep them from harm.
They have all the things they ever could need,
Their life's pretty great, I have to say, indeed.
So what if in the end they have to die,
I loved each one of them so much I could cry.
I treated them all with lots of care,
I know they are looking down from up above, somewhere.
Do cows have a heaven? This I don't know.
If I were a cow, that's where I would want to go.
So in lieu of not knowing about cow heaven and all it's worth,
I try my hardest to provide all my cows a sweet heaven on Earth.
This is my greatest responsibility, my solemn duty,
To appreciate my animals and treat them all as family.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Great Downsizing!

Winter is a time of hibernation and rest. The animals, who don't go south, bulk up in the fall to get ready for sleeping through the winter. What a great concept! Unfortunately humans haven't evolved the ability to hibernate, even though some of us have tried. I like the winter because I like snow. It is pretty and fun. I don't like the only 6 hours of daylight so I do find myself winding down my activities when the sun goes down at 4pm. This goes also for barn activities. When it's cold and dark, doing chores just seems to loose its appeal for some reason. Thus in the fall I begin the process of finding homes for all my extra livestock.

Yesterday I found a home for Max and Mikey, my two buck goats. I don't like keeping male goats over the winter because I do not have very much room in the barn, and the male goat is the most stinky beast God every created! The stench permeates everything and it is oil based so you can't ever get it off of things.

I also found a home for six of my 21 hens. I hatched some chicks this year to add to my flock. Of course some of them where roosters which I found a home for pretty quickly. This fall a lady at work offered me "half a dozen" hens. She was getting rid of all of her chickens because her neighbor had been calling the dog warden on the chickens getting into her yard. The dog warden wasn't taking that seriously but the lady was not happy with the feud over her chickens. I went to her house and found that there were 12 hens and a rooster she was giving to me! That's a lot more than six! I took all of them and shoehorned them into my tiny, outhouse-sized chicken house. With the snow on the ground none of the chickens dare to venture outside. So all 21 chickens are stuck in the tiny house all day long, all winter long. It gets quite smelly and dirty in there in about 2 days after cleaning. Luckily a friend needs about six hens to fill out her flock. Coincidentally I am looking to give someone six hens. So by tomorrow night the chickens won't be so crowded after my friend comes and gets her new hens. I can't wait!

So this winter will hopefully be similar to the past ones. A nice, easy time of doing the chores until all heck breaks loose when all four female goats give birth in the spring. I will enjoy what I can until then.