Jest Another Day in Pear-A-Dice - Higgins Rat Ranch Conservation Farm in Alberta

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by CanuckBock, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    Probably cushion combs don't get frostbite because as you say Tara, other birds like to perch on them. I would think after a while the perchee would have a headache.
     
  2. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Well I need cushion comb birds...
     
  3. CanuckBock

    CanuckBock THE Village Ijit

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    Oct 25, 2013
    Alberta, Canada
    My Coop
    I like to see people at the very least follow the golden rule, treat others how they would like to be treated themselves. A little kindness, respect, decency, not the drama, not the ulterior motives, greed, jealousy, meanness that often abounds...

    I can get someone not understanding how a road that works is built but simple common courtesy and thinking before kicking...that has to be common sense to live by, yes?


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    And I also mean that if I poke someone, I may expect to get poked right back and deserve it too! [​IMG]

    For that reason alone, a little kindness, consideration and think before you "post" might come in handy. I am not so much a people person for obvious reasons....far too busy some daze here to have much if any human contact, and that is fine. At least I don't feel like I am alone, eh...never alone with all the dependents EXPECTING someone shows up and things just happen. [​IMG]

    Rick talks about the old days...and while we all know they are not always the GOOD old days...at least back then, if you high beamed someone...you could expect someone would follow you home and give you a good smack up the side of the ear...acting like your mother and father never raised you up right! My FIL had a little piece of inheritance for Rick...right on the aluminum baseball bat in large felt pen it simply reads..."LIGHT & WHIPPY!"

    Yikes eh! In today's world even up here in the Great White North...you might find you brought a knife to a gun fight, eh! [​IMG]

    My FIL was a person to take after. He is gone now but what a prize. Super, super smart...he use to add license plate numbers together to keep from paying attention (or killing, we are not sure if he did pay attention what would have transpired!) to his seven kids on the road for summer holidays..."Are we there yet?" was more likely screamed by the parents over SEVEN kids in the vehicle! He was a professor at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), he had a ton of tickets in engineering, electrical and boilers...he even invented a natural gas barbecue I believe it was...no rights to it, no patent and never got rich off his invention. He did it at work and it became the gas company's property...no matter. Hard working, smart and a huge man of both physical size and demeanor. One of the jobs he had as a very young man was in the coal mines, installing the tipples for the coal carts...so like a conveyor belt system but made out of wooden timbers and alot of sledge work. The family was living in such a sad one room shack at the time...when they moved out, it was turned into a chicken house...yeh...dirt poor to middle class by the sweat of their brows and the grit of their teeth.

    I have told this story already but it bares repeating...cause it's funny and this is a family life thread...hee hee haw haw snicker snort! [​IMG]

    There was a railway line by the house, the engineers use to toot the horn at the crossing...toot, not lay on it. New engineer, he decides day or night, he is gonna blast the horn. Well Frank (my FIL) figures "Nope, not happening." He has to work for a living and with nine mouths to feed, that's alot of working that him and the wife gotta do, eh! Sleeping thru the short nights is not optional.

    He goes to the cistern and not the one for drinking water, and retrieves a bucket of honey (oh my!)...he gets an old wooden step ladder...he knows the timing of the trains...he bought the land bare and built the house from the ground up, digging the basement by hand...he's been in the area awhile. So round about train time...he goes and sets the ladder up...right at arm height, for it is summer and the engineers will have the windows wide open with an arm leaning on the sill. Yup...places the bucket of human honey on the step ladder and heads back to the house.

    Along comes the train, whistle blasting forever...and BANG, SLOOP goes the bucket...and I mean, all over the engine, the engineer, in the window and that is that. Next train trip...there is this MICRO toot and no more...no more long blast, no more HONK for all it's worth...a respectful sound and a respectful attitude, enforced for those without any common sense. [​IMG]



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    Pretty birds...love the yeller legs...nice healthy look. Adore the cute v-ed marking on your girls beak...no idea what that means past its cute for cuteness' sake! [​IMG]

    See how the male has more wattles than the female...there is something genetic in play past just being male or female there. The male has more wattles, the female has less. She has less bumps on her comb, he has more...not always just chalk that up to genders, eh! The male has kept alot of the Wy male comb shape, following the contour of his head...nice...also the workings or roughness is a Wy breed trait. EE's can be all over the place genetic wise, not a breed but more a neat bird that lays coloured eggs sorta kind. Nothing hard and fast should be tagged to what they produce in a mix past lots of fun variations. The birds end up bigger sometimes when you cross due to simply hybrid vigour...the mix makes them more so than their parents...bigger, sometimes fatter...a horse and a donkey = mule which is bigger and smarter than either parent...neat that way! Their differences are rewarded by Mother Nature who likes genetic diversity...means if something happens the more mixed up the genetics are, the more likely SOMETHING will survive and prosper in the happening, eh!


    Thanks for liking my post...did you mean just the blurp and photos of day olds or the one on my website...don't mind me, little slow, little old (OK, lot old)...I am going to ask and hope you don't take it as impolite, eh.

    Now I don't nag, I repeat until I am HEARD...I am serious...if you have questions on rose, pea or cushion comb...one needs to go read my Comb article on my website (link is in my previous post back there--I made it easy the first time, now any that did not take the seriousness of my posting the link, they then need to go back and work at finding it as punishment...hee hee--I am SO mean...yes, OLD & mean...don't forget that!).
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    My article, read it...that gives you the foundation for the questions you have.

    Then for all those that did as they were told (gold stars all about!)...

    Here is where you go from where I left off...off to one of Sigrid's article.

    http://www.chickencolours.com/pagina14.html


    Be prepared to be GOBSMACKED (or just smacked up the side of the head if you avoid reading and learning yer lessons when I point out where to start and where to go next...hmm, telling people were to go...not my job, that's herder dog Fixins's job, eh!).

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    Fer any that still figure that colour genetics is boring widdle and big confusing letters...this world of colour photos of magnificent chickens displaying all the widdle and big letters me mention--they will just never know about what they are missing out on, eh...oh well...too bad, so sad...fer them!
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    What has happened since I originally wrote my Comb and Wattle article in 2009, while I did quote the right research...

    READ that...SURFACE SMOOTH! So no workings, no transverse groove...smooth move...yeh... [​IMG]


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    Horrific Cushion Comb...unnamed roo

    Lumpy bumpy comb...blah! I see alot of Chants with unsquared not smooth Cushion combs out thar...not right, not quite right eh!

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    Soot named because of his blackness...comb is the CRAPS!

    I figure Soot's working on a comb that mimics a roller coaster...rock and rollers...ski jumpers with moguls ! [​IMG]

    I agree...hee hee.

    The birds were in fine form that day (Sep 23 2012) ...I almost deleted the CUSHION photo...until I realized how absolutely silly it turned out.

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    "Oh my...is that ...is that REALLY! Is that chicken poop on your toes! Bock!"

    Same day...these are some of my many circus chickens...up to no good...always! [​IMG]

    I did eventually get them to settle down and stand for the click...but in the meantime...hilarious antics...chooks being chookers. [​IMG]

    I vote Russian Orloffs...hee hee...no real head gear, marvelous colour in the Speckled, which is Mille de Fleur or even a messy MDF aka Jazzy (Tollbunt)! Yee haw...I like their exotic looks, their cold tolerances, decent size for meat, eggs...jest if I did not have my own Booted MDFs and the Chanteclers eh...that would be a breed that would be fun.

    I owe James Hopkins of Lakeview Fowl Trust in Ontario an e-mail to his new year's wishes from a few days back...Jim use to have Orloffs in Speckled...he is the one that figures the White Orloff mighta been instilled into some lines of White Chanteclers as one of the Fanciers also kept the White Orloffs. You can see the upright carriage in some lines very much so!

    APA did at one time recognized them but removed them due to lack of interest. ABA recognizes bantam form in White, Speckled and Black Tailed Reds. Comb is Walnut (so pea + rose like the cushion), beards/muffs, yellow legs, stern gaze...yeh, fun birds!

    Henny we use river sand exclusively in outdoor pens and runs. It is THE best base for poultry...with oat straw on top.


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    Rick hauled me home boxes and boxes...dump truck boxes, eh! Yeh, he's got his Class 1 still...I helped him study for it years ago! Comes in way handy bringing in gravel for building foundations and me sand though I don't need no mores! We always figured the more employable you were, the less likely one would starve...hee hee!

    All our birds have river sand with oat straw over the top as bedding. Turkeys, chickens, pheasants, geese, ducks, swans, Ruddyshels. While the chickens can bury some of the straw in the sand, it makes for fine bedding...dry and comfy. And I haul out the bedding to compost it and the inclusion of a little sand is bonus for the composting process. Keep in mind, ALL if our pens are roofed...I learned a huge lesson on the WEsT Coast and I will never suffer thru putrid mud conditions AGAIN with my birds. NEVER again by my hand...blah!


    Many, many people wrongly accuse waterfowl of being impossible to keep because they say they are MESSY! Nope, the people are failing the waterfowl by treating them like chickens. You never give waterfowl an unlimited supply of water to play in. You never leave a source of water when dirt is to make mud pies from. Like ALL my baby birds, there are marbles in the dish for water...so they don't fall in, drown or get soaked toddling about...they are BABIES, treat them with care! You never allow any birds to soak themselves without being able to dry off before it gets cold. The waterfowl can bath and swim, for sure, but mud and water makes muck and no bird is happy soaking and muddy and cold and wet...not even ducks, eh! Waterfowl are no more messy as chickens of the exact same size. Size matters...think Swan...

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    These are the cobs


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    The pens are smaller but still a big bird!


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    One of the females being ever so happy happy, joy joy, flappy flaps!
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    So think BIG bird...bird big, big watery crapolas... [​IMG]


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    Eden - Summer Swan House

    This is the swan house mid clear out...see the container on the left...now THAT came outta the buildings. Layers of oat straw and recycled food...processed donations from two pairs of the swans. Think in these terms...the oat straw acts like a mat that allows wet to go thru it...the sand acts like a filter to allow moisture to sink down further and outta the way and provides a sound base for the oat straw bedding to be supported upon.


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    This is one of the pens after me lifting off (it peels off with a fork, not like cracklin's on ham...hee hee...but like a Japanese orange skin...hee hee) the used bedding...a quick rake with a leaf rake to sorta pick up the broken stems of straw left behind and Voila...we are EVER so ready to put down new layer of oat straw.

    Wonderbar!

    Another example is with the Mandarin bantam ducks...

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    Taj Mahal - Mandarin House

    This is mid way during a cleaning...see that sand, river sand...you can see it does its job...moisture wicks thru it, the used bedding peels up off it and packed away...ready for a new layer of straw. If you look off in the distance at the second pen there...it looks like a day at the beach!

    Now no amount of bedding or types will make up for overcrowding...simply put, there is no system that will have happy birds with too many confined to one area. A proper bedding system supports the happiness factors of the very birds themselves. Not miserable dirty, wet, poopy beings...sad sad sad!

    And you will note, I am not an advocate of birds on wire...even rabbits get a little area off wire in their cages, or the bottoms of their feet get all infected and cut up. Nasty. Real birds are raised on the ground...not on wire...even the wire bottomed cages I have for evacuation pruposes here...they are covered up with oat straw so my birds are not directly ON wire. I hate wire...nothing shouts out commercial factory farm misery sentence than birds standing ON wire! Real birds, on the ground! [​IMG]


    Another product I will mention now is about the perimeters of your buildings. We feed and water, so we have a rodent issue because the same conditions we provide for birds...are the exact same conditions MICE (and ratz maybe for you...I hated them on the Coast...dang horrid things!) thrive in. So we tried a few things, we sunk wire around the buildings and found the mice building UNDER the wire...used it to shore up cave ins...dang things! So we pulled the wire and just put down lime rock all around the perimeters. Three quarters minus, crushed...it forms a crust and is a pretty bluish grey when washed with a hose after putting it in. The mice don't dig in it so much.

    For a turkey run...limerock is an excellent physical barrier to deter earthworms (intermediate hosts for the blackhead disease which can kill turkeys and make chickens a bit sick sometimes). I dug down to clay and put in a layer of crushed limerock (sharp and cures hard if wetted) before we put down river sand and oat straw in the turkey runs.

    We have a difficult time with concrete here...you put it in and it heaves (frost driven down sometimes 30 or more feet!), it cracks, it just is not so practical. Concrete is expensive to have fail you so while limerock is more expensive than just gravel...it is a great flexible alternative to concrete... So Rick and I tried the Limerock and holy cow...great for putting around buildings (keeps it tidy and easy to weed if some grass gets a few strands going...looks clean and a predator deterrent in that it gives them no place to hide and lay about waiting to attack something from...nice clean perimeter simply makes there no place for them to be languishing about at). Limerock makes it nice for pathways; only ugly is the clean legged yard chickens scratch and toss gravel sometimes, but a little rake time with the leaf rake (extra slice of pie for the efforts) and it is back to being nice again.

    The limerock heats up and most often we find the snow that falls off the roofs and builds up, gets melted off in the limerock areas pretty fast...the rock keeps the heat from the sun rays, eh!


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    I limerocked under the eaves here...lookin' tidy, eh!
    And some years later from the above photo, I put down loads of limerock on the path on the right...takes time to get to everything, eh.

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    This was last summer (July) and I also put some more limerock around the perimeter of the Duece Coop.

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    You can see the limerock here behind Fixins...

    Fixins doing her job...she sees a BAD birdy (Raven no less!) that is flying by to check and see if HER bantam ducks are unguarded... I laugh, see how the ducks are all heading away from the danger, allowing the dog to make her presence KNOWN to the winged intruder! "BACK OFF or else...!!"

    People think birds are stupid...plain fact of the matter is people are the stupid ones, eh! Stupid for not stopping to observe just how smart animals are! I can let my bantam ducks out, all from their own pens (Duck barn is segregated into four large divisions with further divisions down from that, but with four doors to the outside). In the evening when the ducking around is done for the day, I open the doors wide and rarely do I find more than maybe one drake (trying to increase his harem--bad boy!) in the wrong pens. It is amazing how the ducks KNOW where they should go...not dumb, not stupid and been this way forever too. We humans either know this or we don't, those that don't are dumb to the wonders of the ways of creatures. [​IMG]

    Runner Ducks have been used for centuries to provide extra deliciously rich eggs in the morning to their owners, locked up for the night (when most predators would make an easy meal of them) and then let out, herded to the rice fields to eat snails, weed and fill up their bellies to make morning eggs. The herder persons use to put a big tall stake in the ground with a flag on it...the ducks KNEW to stay within eyesight of the flag (that was their boundaries for that day out) and followed it on home (some always remember the way!) to be tucked up safe at home, fed a bit of grain for their night sleeps and repeat it all the next day. Dumb birds...my butt, eh!


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    Nope!! The ducks have their dog on stand by..."Now kiss off bad birdy!" says the Fix!

    Fixins will settle when the danger passes and the ducks will all come back out and play in their pond, nip grass, chase flies (you have NOT lived until you have watched an Indie duck chase flies...I still burst out laughing...such focus, such concentration and such accuracy!), sleep on the lawns.

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    I was cleaning Duece Coop runs and these are raised up off the ground, so no sand, painted plywood that is lavishly covered in oat straw.

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    Duck Barn - Summer GREEN!

    In front and around the Duck Barn, lime rock...see the straw kicked out onto the pathways, take a rake and rake it up, clean again...easy!


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    July 6 2014

    Mess of waterfowl...the limerock also allows me to put in a portable black pond...the ducks can't muck it up by dabbling in mud (if I had placed it on the lawn...mud pie MESS!). So their pond stays way cleaner...puddle ducks but no muck! [​IMG]


    So here is me last year, doing the perimeter around the Taj Mahal (the Mandarin pen)...

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    Put a sheet of old tenplast down...Rick brought me buckets of grave with the tractor.

    Could have used any old sheet material, just did not want to contaminate the lawn with rocks, eh! Make more work!

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    So here is the layer of gravel all put in.
    So the first layer is regular gravel (limerock is not cheap, gravel is less expensive, so use that to build up a layer foundation first).


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    Rick was working and the place where the heap of limerock resides is kinda cramped...plus I wanted excuses to have those second slices of pie, eh...so I carted it with the limerock. No gym membership purchased by moi!
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    "Move it girl...!" [​IMG]


    Now jest in case Fixins ever feels she is being ignored, her needs not met...she'll do things like LIE right in the way so I know she's like there! I am thinking the men can relate to this tactic...men working and the women, well we don't like to be ignored, eh! HELLOO!!!


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    Jul 28, 2014 - See me tacky oriental flavoured concrete ornamentals! WOOT!

    Got the front part of the perimeter done...there is still the backside to do...but the gravel is laid and a coating of limerock in place...jest need Rick to find the time to cut and spike landscape ties. I do more of the dumb or brute part of the projects...yeh, I know, hold the dumb end...fetch the sky hooks, drywall stretchers...but hey, if it don't turn out, I was not the brains behind the project...That's my story and I am sticking to it! [​IMG]

    So on this meandering trip along er walkabout the sanctuary of ours...back to the river sand and inside the Taj...

    So the pen is cleared out, the sand is topped with oat straw.


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    The ducks prosper, eat, crap, crap and eat....

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    Eat watermelon...love melon...our Mandies do.

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    Melon pelt...pelted with BILLS!

    Can you just the screams from the watermelon...as the hyenas eat the living flesh off of it?? [​IMG]


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    Happy ducks... [​IMG]

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    And with happy ducks...comes happy moms laying eggs in tree nest boxes...and then...and then!!! [​IMG]

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    And then comes happy babies...


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    This is a very rare shot...the ducklings dry off after hatching, rest a bit and then...Great escape from the nest...


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    Inside the tree box nest...


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    and outside...with Mom

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    And some of the BRATS all growed up -- taunting from above--"We have WINGS!"

    Doggone & Chicken UP!

    Tara Lee Higgins
    Higgins Rat Ranch Conservation Farm, Alberta, Canada
     
  4. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Looking up Russian orloffs... :)
     
  5. bamadude

    bamadude Overrun With Chickens

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    skipperville
    Being on my 5th beer....I will have to re-read that tomorrow morning....it took 14 minutes to load on my phone.
    Tara: how many words per minute do you type?
    It would take me 2 days to type 1 of your posts
    Some days you post 3-4.
    Do you have a publicist and photographer follow you around at the rat ranch?
     
  6. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    I was wondering to how many words a minute Tara can type... Must be typing at a dangerous clip...
     
  7. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    I dont know about Tara but I can write a thousand words in about two hours by hand. Transcription takes about twenty minutes.

    It really depends on your subject and interest.

    deb
     
  8. lularat

    lularat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed...don't think I can even think as fast as she can type.

    Tara, I don't know anything about limestone. Does it compact well and where do you get it? How many inches of sand do you use in your houses and what do you have under the sand? I added about 4" of sand to my run last year and of course the girls have scratched and dug until I can't even tell the sand from the dirt. I should have lined the run with something before I added the sand. The girls had a good time anyway...as they say live and learn.
     
  9. CanuckBock

    CanuckBock THE Village Ijit

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    Alberta, Canada
    My Coop
    I do me own typing...

    I do my own photos.

    When I use say my SIL's, I will attribute her for the pic or anyone else eh! [​IMG]


    NO way could I have a publicist and photographer follow me about and keep our biosecurity in place. I can't imagine how utterly bored what I do daily would make them. I doubt many of those types (well OK, some photographers specialize in critters, so that could work) would tromp around with the likes of me. Besides I would fire the publicist for not proofing my work...I miss words, I spell some things wrong. These posts are never meant to be perfect...I try to be concise and properly spelt but yeh...I get the words across OK, I communicate and others seem to get me...good to go I guess.

    For one of my more distant friends (internet is like that...chat with friends on the opposite sides of the Earth like we live next door to each other [​IMG]), she asked to come along for a "walk" by my side here...so I started up the View from the Shoe series for her. I forget about this until I come upon some photo and there's me foot in the bottom.
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    Now I could go about and post this...

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    Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats - Heidi and Dixie

    And like you could have harvested that piccy off the Net some place! Not my hairy scary goaters right?


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    So who in their right minds would post an ugly set of run runs like mine...yeh...so had to be me! Sitting back, lookin at Puella roll like a fool, the sheep pronking about (like deer, front and back feet in sets, tight together pronking along...pronk, pronk, pronk!)...this was the first day I let them loose to much the new greens... Silly llama don't need to eat much (easy keepers) so she does the big dusty roll about...she looks terrible...like a big brown rag mop...but lovin' it...SPRING a ding DONG!

    I did up a whole series of the View from the Shoe...and then winter came [​IMG]


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    This is Rick and I resting...yeh, some rest...dogs think it is DOGTIME! "Don't sit there huffing...get tossing!"

    So the View from the Boot happened...see me boot on the bottom right.

    Nov 3, 2012...building a skid base for the gen set...yeh...dogs helping...such helpers these dogs...we are pounding in spikes and decide to have a set down and catch our breathes...and yet...

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    Who is barking and nagging and generally acting the goofettes...yeh..."Toss it...throw it...we're game...throw the dang toy! Yer not dead yet are yah?"


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    So we oblige them...toss the toy....

    Get up, hammer in some more spikes...

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    Foam Dome smelling the hammer...Fixins figuring Dad will toss the toy again..."TOSS IT NOW! Quit yer wheezing old geezers...TOSS!" [​IMG]


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    Spikes driven, no rest for the wicked with nagging dogs about.

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    Runner Dog Fixins..."See me hurry back, so you will TOSS IT again...with those never tired arms and hands of yours!"


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    Rick tormenting the Fix...with the FINGER! Fix, trying to rip his arms outta their sockets...! [​IMG]

    The ACDog brain bump drainer...the finger..."Look out Fixins!...Here comes the FINGER...it is going, going...going...."

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    THE FINGER toques the Fix in the brain bump and INSTANTLY drains whatever brains are left rattling around in the dog brain cavity... Fixins has the glazed look and stops tugging..."NO BRAIN!" See the Foamer facey snout about...she wants what Fix got...not because she knows it's good, jest because it is Dad paying attention to dogs...


    This is one of my all time favs...posted on this thread before but what the hay...here again fer good measure...PRE-Foamy arriving here.

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    Stoggar, Fixins, HyBlade and Makins

    This is of Rick reciting cowboy poetry to the dogs...what you can't see, is the hunk of cheese (tied with a pork chop?) he has cupped up in his other hand. And there is Makins...she demands it is HERS...she has dibs, she was our first ACDog...




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    At last...left alone long enough to bring gen set and place on new skid unit. Dogs are put away safe so we humans can get some REAL work done...dog dogs...all about the game of play! [​IMG]


    And that day...View from the Boot included some photos of turkey toms...no idea why, that is just what I happened to take clicks of that day...wandering about in some sorta dementia...
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    Dilute Rusty Black heritage turkey tom


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    Wishard Bronze heritage turkey tom

    Jest another day, like any other day...here in Pear-A-Dice, eh.... [​IMG]

    My mother insisted both my sister and I take Typing in school. I also took Computer Science...anyone besides moi remember data storage for computers was cassette tapes. You know, the kind we used to make up mixed tapes with (like anyone EVEN does that any mores?). Then came out floppy disks...but yeh, back then our lessons included things like I learned how to make a program for a clock...my foggy brain seems to remember some kinda code for how long something took to cycle and based the whole keeping time on that blip in time...I think...been so long ago since Dinos walked the Earth.
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    I worked for the government and we had internal communication systems...I expect what was later to be called "e-mail"...so I bin doing that sort of communication for a Coon's age. All sorts of encrypted systems, from land titles to law enforcement reporting systems, etc. I think the first accounting programs I was working with was AccPac...I think that was the earliest version or was that Bedford...I forget and like what does it matter...it was one step up from an abacus. My son says nobody seems to write code no more, they pick out pieces and string them together. Sorta reminds me of genetic splicing...heck knows what they are making...monsters or salvations...oh well! I made my first website (on me dogs, of course) using html code...I know I like that because I know it works. I can go in and fix it and it is like starting in the mail room and going up...you know the process, not always on top of the changes but at least I have some foundation on what use to be.

    One thing you don't or won't see from me...is any cell phone or smart phone or whatever those are. Never sent a text, don't care about that crap. See the kids with some sorta device, an Ipod I think is for tunes but seeing as they have gone back to albums again...like yeh, I care. On a very good pay day, I would go buy the album I had heard a song I liked on the radio...sure we got Sirius and such and its a fun addition, but Rick and I still have our songs...use a flashdrive and have copies we can play ourselves...albums, CDs...stone tablets...yeh...

    I never even subjected myself to pagers. I am out and about and I plan on staying that way...leave me alone, BUSY already! LOL With my luck I'd drop the silly device in poo and have to have it on speaker phone...don't ask...I'm not gonna get me hair all clompy, got the kids to go drive in the afternoon...enough baths in a day, thanks!

    Now Rick must have a cel for work as he works alone and needs it for safety protocols. There have been times it has been life or death, machines break down and leave him stranded...yeh...he needs to be able to call out and check in so I know he at least made it this far so far during the day. So he is way more proficient with techno gobbly gook...he sent his first text back a few months ago. He's taken photos with his camera, but really, if he could have just kept a cel phone (skip the stunned computer part...he has his own fancy laptop he uses to compute and go online with) , not had to go to a smart phone, would have been A-OK for him too. Really truly don't care about all this invasion of our selves. I heard a stat that the average person checks their phone a 100 times a day...really...that would be the day I was tethered to some mind sucking device...but that is just me. I set aside time to be social and I set aside time for me and me alone...busy already...go away...not home, bugger off, get lost...not welcome! My time with the dependents is that...MINE! [​IMG]

    I have had two laptops, the first one I flicked the actual keys off the board...yeh...tip tip FLICK! I had to cut and paste the "Y" and in capital and lower case letters...got real good at doing that...ctrl V and blick...there is the Y...and there's me why oh why did I hafta flick off the y...think it was pretty much an unused letter...nope!

    The second one laptop I used was a rather nice surprise from Rick...he brought me home a laptop in July...just cause--right outta the blue...pretty great surprise. Nice fella. That one he bought had this washable rubber cover over the top of the keyboard--twas coffee dump proof! But even there...as Henny says, "dangerous clip!"...clip clop stop torturing the keys! [​IMG]

    That one cratered too, it was the keyboard again and in a lap top, it takes a bit more to change those out--can be done, no dout! But I got way tired of that buying a laptop and the power was wimpy for the same dollars as the same amount of money for a desk top...so this time I went back to a desk top...and you'll might remember when I had a touch of the flu and slopped coffee on the keyboard and blew it up...well one trip to the city and twenty bucks, later...new keyboard with a spare mouse in case I beat that up too.

    Most of the heavy computer types are desk top fans. Not sure, asked a real geeker once and he just said you can upgrade. OK...I guess?

    All I know is the last desk top we had...that one lasted five years and I hate having to transfer data...go find picture files I know I have but on which harddrive or which folders...blah! I'm pretty organized but five years of time...that's a dreamy concept. NO having to learn a new system...just do what I do as it comes naturally...oh yeh, and TYPE...type like the blazes! [​IMG]

    I am probably at 80 or so words per minute by now...I type as fast as I think...maybe just a shade slower. Do have to go back and correct spelling mistakes too. English should be like other languages, you spell like it sounds...yeh...then only worry would be the occasional finger stutter.

    I have other people I converse with...no less long worded than I...you should see the length of our conversations...incredible and all in good fun. I know I am not unique in this aspect. Some younger than I, some older...see them fingers just fly and the thoughts form words and the words form ideas and we have a rather good old time. My social coffee break time with people I adore to converse with.
    [​IMG]

    So in my last post, I cut and pasted the post to Notepad (nfi) to dump the photos, cut out the three quotes of others and was about an hour's worth of typing at 80 words per minute. There were 4,297 words... and at 80/minute, that's 4,800...so pretty much normal for me to take a break on. I have had meals during...java...the dog Fixins at my feet...she needs inside time more and more now that she is older too. NO rest for the wicked but we do have to have breaks and some sorta human contact.

    Takes a bit some days for the photos to upload but connection is faster than when I was on dial up. I am like that, I would still be on dial up and completely happy because at least with dial up, as people went over to high speed (my butt it speedy but let the propaganda perpetuate, eh!), I got more and more...do you call it, band width perhaps...don't know the right term but it got way less crazy and at least with dial up, we still had internet service. Sure not able to do the BIG picture things or the MB's of attachments but at least we had some sorta service to communicate with.

    Now when it is summer time here...every idiot stick and their dogs are out on quads, sending messages back to their friends in the city..."This is me on the Quad...whee!" Cranky, yup, I pay for service all year round here and they camp under my tower and steal my signal right outta the air...whatever...."Grrrr....Ingrates--GO back home! I'm home and so should you be!" [​IMG]

    Sorry, yeh, too many years tip typing...

    Yes, the limerock in 3/4 inch minus packs awesome...if you lay it down, rake it out and then put a hose on it...the fines act sorta like a mortar and it is very nice. The colour I love, kinda a dovey blue. Rick has over the years had two belly dumps come and bring us a load. There are literally mountains of it here, like the river sands, you just gotta hunt out who is excavating it or has a pit...the lime rock requires a crusher, obviously.

    [​IMG]

    So this is by one of the doors on the Taj...you can see the regular gravel base, then some limerock on top...raked out, you see the tiny chunks and all those fines...wonderful medium to use. [​IMG]

    It depends on the house on how much sand goes in. I think the minimum is like 6 inches but in some cases as little as three inches could be the spread. I will dig down to the clay, remove the dirt of course (lots of wows here to use bits of extra dirt on, to smooth out the landscape) and fill up from there...clay base. Like when I did the tree ring here...

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    If you look off to the far right, you can see I just tossed the sod to reinforce the incline better.

    [​IMG]

    You always recover the sand and dirt mix for garden or around specimen plants...I am sure the chicken poop in the mix will be beneficial too. [​IMG]

    If I was to do a building, from the beginning, I would do what we did for the Taj...


    [​IMG]

    Let Rick and the tractor bucket move the ground dirt, down to the clay we have here in our area. In the case of the Taj, it was a low spot, and not much dirt, so he brought buckets of gravel and smoothed it out. He needed to raise the building, so the gravel raised it up...and with ducks, no real chicken leggy clawed scratchings...not to dig it all up.

    [​IMG]
    Then let man and machine put down some gravel, then the river sand. All good drainage.


    [​IMG]

    So you can kinda see the depth of the sand in there... the Taj was built once, out on the driveway...then undone, painted and then assembled on sight. Makes me grin...he built the barn, he torn barn down, he painted it and then he built it again. Yeh...all the pieces are thoroughly coated with white latex paint or red stain...and will last for a very long time. You can see the assembly of the Taj in my signature line there...

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...r-aix-galericulata-mandarin-ducks-mega-photos

    That's the link above and a nice read and visual of the process. [​IMG]

    Thread is about ducks and trucks, dogs and even the process of Rick making us the tree stump nest for the tree ducks...what to feed Mandarins....lots of ducking around, eh! That's what's fun about this hobby--lotsa aspects.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Not a ton of depth for the sand layer but Mandarin Ducks won't dig like clean legged chooks do will either. [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Here is a view of one of the pens off the turkey barn...there is a plank, then the painted white 2x4's with wire and hardware cloth...the depth of the sand in the turkey run is also several inches. As I mentioned, dug down to clay, layer of limerock to inhibit earthworms and then the river sand and oat straw bedding. We figure the planking is a bit of a deterrent to predators like yotes, foxes, skunks, etc. digging UNDER the 2x4 wired panels and getting inside the pen. It is a fair jag to dig down and across a plank like that...

    [​IMG]

    This is Eden for the Black Swans...again the plank under the pen walls...it can rot out and be replaced if necessary at less expense than the pen walls, eh!


    Every few cleanings, I look to see if I need to bring a wheelbarrow of sand from my big sand (box) pile. Not like the sand brought in ever leaves here...well mostly none except maybe a few grains...ha ha ha...the used bedding goes off to be composted in the pastures or to supplement my gardens.

    [​IMG]

    Very bizarre I guess...the recycling...you haul in the feed, the bedding, have the birds/animals...you clean the used bedding up and then compost it in...stuff grows. And the cycle continues...kinda just weird if I stop and think of it but a good feeling because I am not seeing us fill landfills and we are making improvements on where we live...as if poop distribution is an improvement...har har! Just spreading out the love... [​IMG]
    Doggone & Chicken UP!

    Tara Lee Higgins
    Higgins Rat Ranch Conservation Farm, Alberta, Canada
     
  10. Poop distribution IS an improvement. It distributes nutrients and good bacteria and generally makes all the plants very very happy.

    Dumb question here: if you moved into a place that had a structure already built and you wanted to put that gravel underneath the thing, is that even possible? My back would give out long before I ever even completed 1/4 of what needed to be done. I have mice galore living in the floor of my barn and I hate the little mongrels but I can't see a way to rid myself of them. I don't want to use poisons and I have tried trapping them and they're either super stealthy or the traps aren't worth a darn. What I'd really like to do with the little well-fed vermin is to live trap them and then drown them all in a bucket of water, freeze and then chop to add to my birds' meals on occasion. Or, I suppose I could run them through a grinder before freezing, making mouseburgers for the birds! [​IMG]

    I have looked and thought and planned different mouse traps... usually when I got to bed trying to get to sleep. These things keep me awake and then once I do get to sleep I mostly forget what it was I had almost settled on![​IMG] I don't think taking a sheet of paper to bed would help either as once I started drawing these things in the dark, I wouldn't be able to recognize them in the morning. Plus, all that actual thinking wouldn't let me fall asleep afterward either.
     

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