Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
ClaireAnna and her pony, Cindy, have been on many trail rides together over the last two years. Mom either rides along or walks while leading Cindy with a lead rope. ClaireAnna has reins and has been learning to take control, but I've always had that lead rope in my hand, just to be sure. Over the last two months, I have started to let go. I usually walk along so I am right there. As you can see, there is a lead rope on Cindy's halter but it is looped over the saddle horn. Tonight, the whole family decided to go. Jes happened to be visiting and rode Missy, Claireanna on Cindy, Ted, Kate and I on foot. It was a beautiful fall evening, clear skies, about 69 degrees. Cindy and Claire did great. We even stopped walking right beside them and let Claire have her independence. She was thrilled. If you notice in the pictures, there are two others on the family walk. Its Lizzy and Ozzy! We couldn't believe it as we headed away from the barn and heard "Meow" from behind us. Those two cats accompanied us the entire hour long walk, just like Thunder and Lightning used to. What fun it was.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
For the first three years we lived here, our barn was ruled by Thunder and Lightning, two rescue cats we adopted just weeks after moving to Arkansas. Thunder is the grey and white tiger striped male. Lightning is the beautiful, long haired, calico female.
We soon learned that contrary to what most people think, cats LIKE to go for walks. These two cats accompanied us on many, many walks all over the farm, sometimes for hours. We never invited them, they would just hear us walking by the barn and come a runnin'. They liked to follow at a distance and make small side treks here and there to explore. But they kept up and seemed to be having a great time. They were two quintessential hunters, keeping the mice away, but were also very friendly and loving.
Then last winter, Lightning just disappeared. She was such a lioness, a great hunter, bold and confident and healthy as could be. The only explanation is that she was attacked by a coyote or stray dog. I don't believe anything else could have gotten her and I have a hard time believing even that. She NEVER left the farm so I know it wasn't by choice she was gone. For days we watched for her and looked for her, but after about a week, we had to accept that she was never coming back.
This spring, we added two kittens to the barnyard to help keep Thunder company and to eat mice. Dad said just one cat to replace Lightning, but when each girl wanted a kitten of their own, he couldn't say no! ClaireAnna's kitten, the calico female, is named Elisabeth. Kate's kitten, the black and white male, is named Ozymandias. Okay, "Lizzy" and "Ozzy". They are brother and sister. Don't worry, we had them spayed and neutered! They are such cuties and lucky for us, turned out to be cuddly, loving kittens.
What we didn't realize was that Thunder would consider them a huge intrusion on his territory and simply left the barn in anger for days once they were on the scene. He is now in his "acceptance" phase and tolerates them some what. But he certainly doesn't enjoy their company. Sorry Thunder!
They are quite a pair, this father and daughter. Both born to be farmers. One teaching the other. One giving purpose to the other. If Ted is out working, she will be there too. Together, they tore down an old garden fence to use the fencing to secure her new duck pen. Here she is trying to clip the wire with a tool almost as big as she. She always wants to try and he always lets her. The next picture is of them taking a break while working in the duck pen. You can see the recycled wire fencing they've just attached to the coral panel behind them. ClaireAnna loves to ride in/ on the tractors with her dad. Here you can see them headed to a tractor through the field. She's in there with him as he loads a bale onto the trailer. We spent an entire hot and humid afternoon out in that field, loading 75 large bales of hay onto a trailer 10 at a time, driving 20 minutes back to our farm and unloading them. She was with him the whole time. Another day, when they were out bush hogging, after a couple of hours, she fell asleep in his arms. The next day, his shoulder was sore and I thought he had hurt it doing some farm work. "No", he said, "just holding 'the baby' while I was bush hogging." What would he do without her?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Our little town of Dover has an annual festival called Ozark Memories Day. There is a parade, music, games and contests and booths of all kinds. This is our third year participating in the 4-H petting zoo booth. This year, we brought some of the Lionhead rabbits and Seymour. For those of you who don't know, Seymour is a wether Katadin Hair Sheep. (A wether is a castrated male. ) Katadin Hair Sheep do not need to be shorn. Seymour grows wool in the fall and sheds it out in the spring. Under his wool he has a coat of corse hair. We have had Seymour for over 3 years now and our barnyard wouldn't be the same without him. The second picture is of a 4-H friend, Richard, who decided to take Seymour for a walk and took him all over the festival like a dog on a leash. It was just so cute! Another Seymour factoid.....His tail should be 6 inches longer! One morning a couple of years ago, we found Seymour bleeding from the tip of his tail which was suddenly half as long as it was the day before. We can only assume that a coyote attempted to attack him and only got a snack and not a full course meal. The tail was never found and Seymour recovered quickly.
The girls and I love to do petting zoos as a community service at various events in our area, usually along with our 4-H buddies. Ted is in the process of making us a set of portable pens that we will be able to load in the trailer and quickly set up on site. We will then be able to bring Seymour, Chimi the llama and Jack the donkey and even the bunnies, all at the same time.
UPDATE: We had Chimi for about 1 year. He was a pleasure to own, but his personality did not suit our petting zoo atmosphere. We sold him to a family who will enjoy him very much. We would like to get a llama or two again, but will be more discerning and be sure to choose from a line of well proven, less dominant animals. Chimi was a handful!
One of the most unusual new aditions to the Harmon menagerie is Chimichanga", our llama. He is just a baby. We got him in May and he is approaching 1 year old in November. He is quite friendly and will happily gallop to you if you have a bucket of grain and eat out of your hand. He does not like to be petted but we are working on that. If we can catch him with grain, we can put a halter on him and take him for walks. He leads well and seems to enjoy them. I have just ordered a book and training clicker and Kate is going to start working on his training. We have read that you can train a llama to do just about anything, including to pick up garbage and put it in the trash can. We'll see......"Chimi" gets gelded tomorrow! Anyway, he is lots of fun and a great conversation starter. Another benefit is that he protects the ducks and chickens from night time predators.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This is Glori. She is our bay tobiano Tennessee Walking Horse mare. We have a friend with a palomino Tennessee Walking Horse Stallion. So.......Along came Alexander. Born in April, he is a buckskin tobiano colt. Ted made it to his birth just in time. The girls and I came along seconds after he was born. As you can see, he is all legs. I believe he will be very tall. He is just a sweet heart and it has been fun watching him grow up with "Chexy". They are pasture pals. "Alex" is now 6 months old, weaned, halter trained and for sale. It will be sad to see him go, but we can't keep them all! Glori is headed off for training on Nov. 1. She is an amazingly athletic horse and I can't wait to get her back and see what she is like to ride. I hope to be reporting on all the long trail rides I have on her in the mountains of Arkansas in the coming months. Jazz was my riding mare until Kate found out how fun she is to ride. I am now relegated to the gaited horse, not my true love in the equine world. But.....they say gaited horses are better for those of us who are older and achier. I will let you know!
I have waited four years for this baby! My beautiful mare, Jazz, ( showing off her stunning grulla color in the picture of her by herself ) has finally had her first foal, after 2 years of unsuccessful breeding. The filly, born 3/17/2007, was just exactly what I ordered and I am madly in love with her! She is a beautiful dun with a white star on her forehead and tiger stripes on her legs. Here is a picture of the filly on the day she was born, taking a nap on ClaireAnna's lap. I have named her "Chexy". Her registered name will be "Smart and Chexy Two". It is a play on words derived from the names of her ancestors. She is a "Smart Little Lena" and "Chexy Lady" great grand daughter, with "Two Eyed Jack" in her 6th generation. "Chexy" has a personality to die for. I have halter and lead trained her and she is now 7 months old and weaned.
Hi All, This is my first post to my new blog. I will be keeping this as a way to update everyone and anyone who is interested about the Harmon family and our farm. I will be posting lots of pictures and hopefully telling all about our continuing adventures here in Arkansas. I have not sent out a farm update in quite awhile so there will be several posts to document some of the changes we have had around here. Hope you enjoy them! This picture is of Bossy, AnnaBelle, Dumb and Dove, cooling off in the creek in the heat of August this year. We had about a month straight of consistent high 90's and 100's.