Firefly Farm

The Traveling ‘Peep’ Show

Their little legs and wings blur in a flurry of activity as they greet me in the mornings.

“Peep peep peep! Cluck cluck! Squak!”

Every day, the chickens, ducks and turkeys follow me, begging for food and attention. They love to be petted and adored. They see a mealworm (treat) bag and gallop toward me.

But–

But there are feathers everywhere. Chicken ‘leavings.’ Ducks in the arena, chickens in the hay. Eggs that I find months later, many moons longer than I’m comfortable eating them.

So I finally invested in their future.

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The lovely, retro/vintage monstrosity here will now be referred to as “Firefly Farm’s Traveling ‘Peep’ Show.” It’s a gloriously perfect gutted camper which isn’t usable for humans any longer. It’ll be just what Doc Brown (as in, Back to the Future) ordered.

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This is the beginning of the end for my little feathered friends’ “nighttime excursions” to the pond or the hay pile. The welcoming committee will be penned up soon with this trailer as their new home at night, but they’ll be allowed out during the day. I know it seems harsh, but my ‘peeps’ will be happier in the long run. This trailer will allow them to lay eggs in peace and sometimes hatch babies in a quiet environment. This will be a huge boon for poor Gloria, who is currently laying on a nest in the worst possible area for any duck to hatch babies.

12743984_932535840176210_8735108353766968307_n.jpgI can’t wait for Firefly Farm’s Traveling ‘Peep’ Show to be on display. I’m already cleaning out the inside to prepare it for nesting boxes.

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Jumping Show 11.1.14

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My Buddy

He sniffs, and then gives an experimental nip.

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He feels the “pinch” and shies away.

 

 

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He grabs my shoelace and gives a mighty heave.

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Wedgie!

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Ooh–a cat! A CAT!

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Bye, cat.

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Mama peeks around a corner, watching me babysit.

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Applejack’s mane and tail are so veregated, there’s no telling what color they’ll be. Red? White? Black? The hair is also coming out curly.

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His baby hooves are growing out, too. They’re stronger and darker. He has one striped hoof, two black hooves, and a blond hoof.

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Though it may seem that Applejack is able to get away with everything and anything he wishes, he’s learning about his world in a safe environment. I’m helping him to learn boundaries and gently pushing him away from wrong and toward correct behavior. He understands that some things aren’t nice (biting) and that there will be repercussions (small “pinches” on his nose/face.) I want his natural curiosity to continue because it makes training so much easier.

The baby boy is now on supplements for his feet, teeth, coat, and growth. He’s super tall and definitely more graceful than even a week or two ago. He’s growing into his body and understanding what I ask and why I ask it. He’s scary-smart and a joy and delight every day.

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Photos of Firefly Life

The tiny feather-fluffs hop and chirp and cheep. These ping-pong balls of energy peck and poke and scratch.

They’re so much fun. I’m in love.

I bought 3 types of female chickens (pullets) this year. The breeds are 5 Aurucanas, like Nugget; 4 ISA Browns, and 4 Black Laced Wyandotte.

Erika, Sherin and I visited the Farm store, and there they were. Cute and cuddly and I couldn’t wait to own some. The ladies helped me pick out babies. We brought them back home, but then I panicked when our old chicken container wouldn’t come loose from the ice and snow.

Oops.

So we ended up pilfering the water trough from Suzi Q.’s pasture. Now that she’s in with the ponies, there’s no reason to keep it running. We hosed it off, scrubbed it out, and brought it into my living room.

(I didn’t warn the husband ahead of time. It’s just better for him not to know until the deed is done.)

We started with 13 chickens. The little ladies all made it through the first few nights, and I’m hoping they all survive.

So far, our chicks are named Rusty, GlenCoco, Lea, and Noname.

I bought a new saddle for Twist, and it fits Honey, too. Within this gallery, there are photos of Twist wearing this new saddle.

But mostly, the photos below are of our fluff-balls.

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“Did You Know You Already Have One of These?”

Sniff, snort, prance, pull, flip out.

I endured this dance five times yesterday morning. Five Times. I understand I’m crazy, but the things that scare ponies are eyeroll worthy.

I knew the husband’s generosity at allowing Lucy the Chicken to live indoors in our bathtub would wear off. So what if she had 3 broken bones and the Vet said she had a slim-to-none chance of making it? That was, like, months ago. Ancient History. These are the times that try men’s souls–or rather, now is the time that men tire of a chicken-poo scented bathroom.

Therefore, I considered my options.

DSCF3330Could I push Lucy out in the world cold-chicken? Naw. Instead, I dragged my friend Sherin to the local Family Farm and Home, enticing her with visions of flannel-lined jeans. Together we scoured the aisles for something–anything–that I could use for Lucy.

“Do you have a chicken house suitable for a little lame bantam?” I asked my friend Nellie. “Maybe a house and chicken yard attached?”

“Sure, got one right here.” Quick as a monkey, she scurried up the crossbeams and onto the tippy top of the chicken aisle. As I mentally quaked for her safety, she yelled for another associate to help her yank the monstrosity off the highest shelf. Not only did they have to dissassemble it, they still couldn’t fit most of it into my car.

“Get more horsepower,” my friend Art grunted.

“Talk to my husband,” I said. “I’ve been trying for years. At least I got a horse farm.”

“Ok, well, I’ll deliver it to you myself. I’ll be drivin’ a red truck. Don’t shoot me when I come over.”

I promised him I wouldn’t, and he graciously offered to bring it himself.

Once Art arrived, he unloaded the Chicken McMansion.

DSCF3333“Did you know you already have one of these?” He asked, pointing to Lucy’s prior dwelling.

I nodded. He shook his head, commencing construction.

Quick as a duck landing on a pond, Art put the Chicken Mc Mansion on the market for a new owner. Once I explained that Lucy currently lived in the bathtub up at my house, the poor man raised his eyebrows, shook his head yet again, and left.

(I think he wanted to run from the crazy animal lady before the insanity rubbed off.)

Lucy instantly took to her new digs, laying an egg within an hour of entering her new home. She’s completely at ease in the Chicken McMansion and attached yard.

If only the horses could relax in the same way. Every time they walk past, it’s “new.” Sniff, snort, prance, pull, flip out. It never gets old. They have to pass the McMansion to go into the RAMM Fence pasture, and every time it’s an adventure.

However, if the horses relaxed the same way Lucy did, I’d make millions. Who wouldn’t love to know a horse who lays eggs?

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Melody’s Favorite Year

She lingers offstage until her cue. She flips mane out of her eyes. It trails down her neck in glossy black rivulets. Her dapples reflect the pink and blue stage lights. She prances in anticipation.

Melody will make her screen debut at Riverwalk Theatre this weekend and next.

Why screen, and not stage?

(Technically, it’s both. We have a two-fer)

Come see Melody’s theatre debut.

MFY

May 30-June 2,
June 6-9
 
 
Book by
Joseph Dougherty

Music by
Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Directed by Dan Pappas

In 1950’s TV-land, a Mel Brooks type sketch writer working for a Sid Caesar type boss is tasked with keeping a wayward movie star variety show guest (an Errol Flynn type) sober and celibate until air-time. Shenanigans ensue in a frenzy of early-TV nostalgia.

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Mel in MFY

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With a Little Help From My Friends -Lennon and McCarthy

I savagely ripped through its guts, pulling and clawing through its innards. The rotting corpse stench pained me. Disgusted, I threw the hay aside, frustrated that such a beauty on the outside could be rotten in the core.

I feed my horses the best hay I can find. The lush, green orchard grass is from Riley Peck in Leslie. I pay $10 for a 50-lb square bale.

Sometimes, though, I get a “heavy bale.”

Heavy bales are the kind I dread. When the farmer collects the grass from his field, sometimes it isn’t completely dry. When it packs into bale form, there’s nowhere for the moisture to go. Unfortunately, though it looks tasty and dry from the outside, the inside can be full of mold.

Yesterday I recieved an email from my best friend. She told me that she and another boarder found a “suspect” bale–one that had already been opened.

I groaned when I read the email.

The bale, when I opened it yesterday, seemed fine on the end flakes. It seemed a little heavy, sure, but not heavy enough to cause me worry.

I should have second-guessed myself. I should have ripped that bale apart.

Instead, I blithely filled hay nets in a few of the stalls; thinking of how exciting my evening would be. (Did I mention yesterday was my birthday? I had other things on my mind.)

Yesterday evening, when I recieved the email, I sat back in shock. I should have known. I should have KNOWN.

But I didn’t.

I make mistakes. Luckily, I have an amazing best friend and a phenomenal boarder who corrected yesterday’s error.  I’m grateful other people here are on top of things. I try to catch it all–but nobody can do it alone.

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The Ugly Kitty

I knew there must be another heated water bucket.

I bought one for Melody when we boarded at Arrowhead Farm, and it didn’t miraculously melt into the ground–so I simply needed to search hard enough to find it. Our small shed in front of the barn either held the bucket or it would never be found.

I turned things over, cleaned out a space, and discovered a Rubbermaid container in a corner. I pulled the large plastic tub out, and noticed it appeared remarkably heavy for an item of its size. I lifted it up, and joy of joys–there lay the bucket. It held a great deal of leaves, pine needles, hay, and other random debris, but I’d found it.

I lifted the bucket out of the container and tipped the leaves out into the Rubbermaid container, intending to burn them later. Instead, two eyes stared up at me.

Either I had a very ugly kitty hiding in the bucket of leaves, or an opossum took up residence.

I gave a very girly, high-pitched scream, then grabbed a container of manure to set on top of the initial container. In my head I heard Giles Corey gasp “More Weight.” I couldn’t leave him like that. I lifted the manure bucket off the opossum’s new digs, and left him alone.

When I came back, he escaped, most likely back to the shed. I couldn’t kill him, nor could I let him stay there. I couldn’t.

I thought about the opossum’s food source, and decided he must enjoy dry cat food. I put some inside a live trap and left it overnight.

In the morning, I discovered that the “ugly kitty” trapped himself.

I don’t hurt animals. I avoid it at all costs. In my hands, I held the life of this so-ugly-he’s-cute animal, and couldn’t imagine killing it in cold blood. I couldn’t even think how to try. I don’t own a gun (the husband won’t let me–it falls under his “Nothing that could rip off and/or injure a limb” category) so the fast-and-painless option simply didn’t exist.

Therefore, I brought the “ugly kitty” to Mike next door. He promised that he’d give the opossum a “heavenly experience” at his farm.

This morning, he returned an empty live trap.

Now, all the stalls have working heated buckets for the winter. The ponies will have enough water. The kitties, too, will not be thirsty. However, outside animals are not welcome when they don’t pull their own weight. They’ll be sent next door to Mike.

(I did not harm any animals in the making of this post.)

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Spread a Little Sunshine

Yes, that line’s from the musical Pippin, and it’s sung by a villain–but it’s a nice phrase.

No matter what evidence I present to the contrary, Diva firmly believes I am a tree.

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Poor Twist. He had his first bath yesterday since arriving at Firefly Farm, and he had to wear Honey’s blanket to stay warm. I could almost feel the scathing heat from his eyes as he shouted “Oh, the humanity! To be wearing a blanket embroidered in pink?! You bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!” (I don’t know how Twist is able to quote Shakespeare in my head, but that’s his quirky side coming out.)

Girls have cooties, Mom! Why do I have to wear a girl's blanket?

The cold weather would’ve made him freeze if not for this “girly blankie.”

He’s very white now. It’s amazing to see the difference.

Sidney sported a delightfully masculine maroon blanket last night.

Braveheart braved the cold with a lush “au natural” coat of palomino and dazzling white.

The kitties also got in on the Fall Fashion Show.

The girls also decided to stay nude in the pasture. Melody, of course, being the exception.

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Paradise Estate

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As a child, I remember pulling all the dining room chairs from the table and tugging a white sheet over them. I created my own private kingdom where I read stories of far-away lands and played with My Little Ponies.

Today created an odd sense of deja-vu. The sky is dove grey, as if The Universe threw a giant sheet over the trees to create a cocoon around Firefly Farm. I fed/watered/petted/hugged/loved on the ponies.

However, my kingdom isn’t solitary. Instead of using my imagination to create pony personalities, everyone came with their own. When I hugged Twist, Dusty, Lexi, Melody, and Honey this morning, they hugged me back. Bandit, my faithful, loyal little Border Collie, helped “manage’ the barn and keep me on task.

I can come inside the house, approximately 100 yards from the barn, and read the day away if I wish.

And I have the most faithful companion of all–The Husband. He supports my horse habit, loves me unconditionally, and keeps encouraging me to follow my dreams.

I don’t need to put up a tent to imagine a perfect world anymore. I live there.

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