4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses

4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~Langston Hughes *pictured: '4Shoes Bookends'

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bugs Bunny Hasn't Got a Thing Over Floki

"Hey, what's up Doc?   Make sure you get my good side, eh?"
"Who's kidding who now, right? EVERY side of me is my Good Side!"


Linking up with the Chicken Chicks' bloghop!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cabrini-Green; Colonel Sanders' Style

You may or may not remember, I once posted the truth about The Borg Chicken Collective while revealing a childhood trauma. Short version, chickens pretty much scare the shit out of me. Yeah, I said that.
I know some people love birds, but I wonder a little bit that anyone who doesn't admit to at least some feelings of unease around those beady-eyed, quietly plotting, winged crap machines might be full of something too. 
Resistance is futile...
This whole bird thing has had me doing manic loops for some time now. On the one hand, chickens are clearly diabolical. But on the other hand, so yummy. You can see my conundrum.
Mr Shoes has been plied with so many different versions of a chicken coop build... I think all my chatter had finally put him into half a literal coma on the topic, & you know the result = Inertia.
I can get a little frustrated when I think a project has drifted so far away from the planning & discussion stages that it has just come to a standstill. A HandyWoman would build the project all on her own. Lest there be any doubt, I am not particularly "handy".
Oh, I have enthusiasm to beat the band, but no notion of how to read plans, or any skill at all with power tools. I have, in fact, been expressly forbidden to play with the Misters' toys.
But I am a woman with a chequebook(!), & money will often do much to level the playing field. Armed with a mostly false sense of confidence, we drove out on a mother/son adventure & brought home 2 boxes which Boot then quickly assembled into low income housing for laying hens.
 Dorianne, Cara, & Ed in the 4Shoes' version of Cabrini-Green;  like The Projects, but for hens.
By now you'll have guessed that I have 'chickened out' on meat birds, at least for this year. When in doubt, dip a toe into the water first; this may be toe-dipping at it's finest.
Would you believe this little hen condo is advertised as adequate accommodation for 3-5 birds? More than 3 would clearly be over-crowding & could lead to violence amongst a population widely known to be volatile.
To avoid any kind of  Cabrini-Green situation, we will definitely be adding access to a larger run for these hard working gals.
The sooner the better, before Chicken Fight Club can take hold.
@ .42 cents an egg, only 713 more to go & I'll totally break even!!
P.S. Don't ever travel with a dog crate filled with 3 chickens in the backseat of your $50K car.
P.P.S. Don't ask me how I know that. Febreeze & Time is the only remedy for a mistake of that magnitude.
P.P.P.S This post is part of The Clever Chicks' Bloghop.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Snakey Point of View

The 4Shoes is not so many miles from one of Nature's Great Wonders - the Narcisse Snake Dens. Each May thousands upon thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerge from their wintering caves -- it is a true natural wonder. 

Because Narcisse is the red-sided garter snake capital of the world, the area is also home to more ravens than anywhere else in Canada; ravens LOVE garter snake livers! They will kill the snake, flip it over & eat just the livers, then leave the rest behind. Ravens kill even more snakes than do cars; in the ditches for quite a long stretch of road around the dens are little, foot high fences designed to channel the snakes away from trying to sun themselves on or cross the treacherous highway. 

After coming above ground, the snakes drapes themselves over the rocks to warm up in the sun & prepare to breed; the males emerge first, lay in wait for the females, & then form massive snake mating 'balls' around any female they come across. Snakes are not too choosy... occasionally a male snake will give off a false pheremone to entice the other males to form a 'ball' around him so that he may be warmed faster.  Sneaky Snakes!

Once the mating season is over, the snakes go their separate ways, until the fall when they follow scent trails back to the dens to over-winter together & conserve warmth. Interestingly, mama garters give birth to their live babies & keep right on moving! Baby garters do not return to the dens until their second year (finding them by the same scent trails) & will over-winter their first year wherever they can find a likely place (inside bale of hay is common - don't ask me how I know that!); the theory is that the first year snakes actually freeze & then come back to life in Spring like woodfrogs do. 

I happily leave the snakes alone to do their much appreciated job of eating things that are far more objectionable to me, like bugs & small rodents. 
Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that the Saint has an entirely different point of view...

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Barn Wrecker

After a day of cold rain pissing down, Mr. Shoes put the horses up in the barn for the night.
First thing in the morning I went to do turnout, opened the tackroom door into the barn & looked straight into the innocent face of a big liver chestnut playboy. 
Blink. Blink.*Bats long eyelashes* "Who, ME? Oh...Nonononononono." So convincing, right?
 Evidently his stall latch was not completely thrown & buttoned down. A very naughty (but talented) Someone  picked his own lock & proceeded to have himself a little bit of fun...
Ripped the gate right off the hinges but was unable to reach the hay. 1/4 of a bin of pigfeed? Vanished without a trace.
Looks like he aimed for the cats' litter box..... the first time anyways. No shit, he left at least 8 piles in the aisleway & the straw storage area. Upside? His stall was pristine.