♫ “Yeeeoowww” ♪♪♫
6:30 am. The view outside my bedroom window…
♫ “Yeeeoowww” ♪♪♫
6:30 am. The view outside my bedroom window…
Posted in Around the Farm, Our Chickens, Peacocks, Photography, tagged animals, birds, Chicken coop, chickens, country life, farm, farm life, humor, llama, lost peacock, peacock, peacock call, Photography, Shenandoah Valley on June 14, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
“Bagawk, Bock, Bock, Bock, BEGAWK”.
For those uninitiated in bird speak, that translates into:
“Hellooo, who are youuuu?” (from our recently returned vagrant peacock)
“Help, helphelphelp, H-E-L-P”. (from our little flock of hens who apparently think they are being stalked by the biggest chicken hawk ever)
That was not a discussion that I wanted to hear outside my bedroom window at 7:00 this morning. A quick peak outside revealed the source of the problem. There Farina sat on top of the chicken coop, calling at the top of his lungs, and sending the terrified chickens below scurrying for cover.
Since Farina, the wandering Peacock returned after a 6 month walk-about, he has been sticking really close to the barn. He can always be seen sitting on a fence rail, or showing off to the llamas. It’s like he’s thinking, ‘I lost this place once and I’m not taking any chances’.
As he’s getting more comfortable with his surroundings, he’s starting to do a little exploring. Yesterday afternoon, I found him checking out our back yard, and this morning he was trying to make the acquaintance of the hens.
Take a peak in the window. See all the noses pressed against the glass? The chickens are huddled inside peering around wondering where that danged screaming eagle is.
Posted in Around the Farm, Bearded Collie Dogs, Llama Stories, Our Dogs, Peacocks, Photography, tagged animal, bearded collie, beardie, country life, farm, farm life, humor, llama, peacock, pet, Photography, Shenandoah Valley on June 7, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Our peacock, Farina, miraculously returned home after being on the lam for 6 months and given up for dead. He had spent the first 3 years of his life safely ensconced in the aviary with his brother, Buckwheat, and was pampered with daily treats, a sunny perch for basking in the summer, and a heated house for snuggling in the winter.
Farina went missing early in January, after I foolishly opened the peahouse door to show him off to some friends. He got spooked, and flew the coop, so to speak. He flew up to the roof of the barn where he spent the night. By morning, he was gone, never to be seen again.
Winters here in northern Virginia can be harsh. This wasn’t the worst winter we’ve experienced, but there were weeks of below freezing temps, and many days of cold rain, sleet and snow, not to mention the days we had wind storms with gusts up to 60 mph. What was he going to find to eat with snow all over the ground? And all variety of predators, from the 4 legged variety: foxes, bobcats, and bears; to the sky borne great horned owls and red tail hawks that can grab a peacock in his sleep, high on his arboreal perch.
After 2 months, and no sign of Farina, we decided to get a companion for our remaining peacock, Buckwheat. We thought he might be happier with a girlfriend, so we brought home a young hen, whom we named Darla. It was love at first sight.
How could we have been more surprised when we saw Farina back at the ‘Pea Pod’ last week? He looks great. And he has a beautiful full tail. I might have thought it would look a bit rag tagly after being drug though the underbrush for months. But he has apparently eaten well. I wish I knew where all he’d been.
But the funny thing is, he has taken up with the llamas. The paddock behind the barn is just across the drive from the aviary, so he can be close to the other peas, and socialize at the same time with his new llama buddies. Almost any time of the day, he will be seen sitting on the fence rail next to the barn, or down in the paddock with the llamas, strutting his stuff and showing off his tail.
The llamas were a bit curious to see him at first, but now they just walk around him to get to their hay nibbles.
We hope that he decides to stay here permanently. Maybe having the girl close by in the pen will give him incentive to stick around. At least, we know that he is a survivalist if he does get the wanderlust again.
Depends on what you’re talking about. And what the heck is a doodle, anyway. A doodle is a mixed breed dog that is at least half poodle, usually mixed with a Labrador retriever, “Labradoodle” or a golden retriever, “Goldendoodle”. They are a very popular hybrid dog, because they are super cute, and have a marvelous personality. They are often said to be non-shedding and hypoallergenic. But don’t count on it. They are, after all, a mixed breed, and will exhibit characteristics of both parents. They may be more poodle-y or more retriever-y.
Our doodle, Bayley, is a Goldendoodle. She is a backcross (F1b), meaning that her mother was a goldendoodle that was bred back to a standard poodle, making Bayley essentially 75% poodle.
Now Bayley doesn’t shed her fur, but she sheds everything else in nature. Depending on the season, she sheds mulch, catkins, grass clippings, leaves, dirt, and even snow. Her cottony soft fur acts like a magnet and attracts absolutely everything in the yard and woods to her. Then, as soon as she passes through the door, the magnetic polarity reverses, and she promptly sheds everything all over the house.
Something to consider if you are a neatnik and are looking for a no maintenance dog. But if you are looking for the most devoted, fun loving, affectionate, and adorable companion, then keep the broom handy, and go for it.
Posted in Around the Farm, Peacocks, Photography, Uncategorized, tagged animal, bears, black bears, country life, farm, farm life, humor, nature, Peacock aviary, peeping tom, Photography, Shenandoah Valley on April 22, 2013 | 4 Comments »
Twin Creeks is on the lookout for a suspected peeping tom. Footprints and fingerprints as well as hair samples were found at the scene of the crime. The incident which occurred on or around April 15, 2013 has prompted detectives to seek the public’s help in identifying the suspect.
A witness account indicated the suspect was pressing his face to the front window of the Peacocks house, locally known as the Pea Pod.
He left a clear handprint on the window screen.
The suspect is described as a stocky male, standing approximately 4 feet tall with abundant dark, coarse hair. His hand print indicates he has fat little fingers with untrimmed fingernails. A sketch artist has produced a drawing based on the evidence and witness reports. If you have information that would help investigators, please leave a comment below.
Posted in Llama Stories, Photography, tagged animal, flowers, hiking, humor, llama, llama business, llama trek, nature, onion breath, outdoors, Photography, shenandoah river state park, Shenandoah Valley, wild onions on April 16, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Did you ever think you would be contemplating llama breath? Well, I’m going to give you some information that you might not have considered before. For the most part, llamas have very nice breath, mostly neutral, but often tinged with a slightly sweet smell of the fresh hay or grass they have been munching.
Or better yet, sometimes their breath makes you think of Christmas, and you know that they have been browsing on their absolutely favorite food, white pine needles.
Their second most favorite food is just coming into season: the wild spring onion. And you have no doubt in your mind at all when they have been indulging in this llama delicacy.
I’m sure most all of you are familiar with this scourge. It thrives almost everywhere that the urban homeowner aspires to have a lush, green, weed free lawn. They are strangely pungent and whenever I smell them, I’m thrown back to a time in my childhood when my Dad would mow the yard and the air would reek of a Greek salad.
We did a llama trek this past weekend in the Shenandoah River State Park. Llama trekking is our weekend business. We guide our customers on an invigorating hike through the park and I prepare a 4 course picnic lunch which we enjoy along the way. The llamas carry all the food, linens, utensils, and even folding tables for our meal.
This day, we stopped for lunch in a meadow overlooking the Shenandoah River. It was a glorious day, sunny and warm, and the river was dotted with red and green canoes. And the meadow was dotted with lush green spikes of wild onions. The llamas had an enjoyable break from the hike, grazing in the grass.
When we went over to load the llamas up for the return hike, we were blown away by the rank stink of their breath. As we walked along the trail, we followed in the miasma of their onion breath. And we also discovered to our dismay that an overindulgence in wild onions tends to make llamas quite gassy.
Fortunately, as a counterpoint to the malodorous onions, was the beauty of the Virginia bluebells, which fortuitously were at their peak bloom that day.
A little touch of the agony and the ecstasy.
So, what is there to do when the snow is still on the ground, but the days are getting longer, and the seed catalogs are filling up your mail box? You’ve got spring fever, but it is too miserable to do any cleanup work outside.
So you resort to house cleaning. Birdhouse cleaning, that is.
We hung a bunch of birdhouses when we moved out here to the country about 15 years ago. Some we bought and some we made. My favorites are a pair of bluebird houses that Road Warrior and I made together for my birthday present several years ago. We hand cut roof shingles out of cedar shims and the houses were precious. Even the bluebirds loved them as is evidenced by the fact that they have nested in the boxes every year since we mounted them on our gate posts seven years ago.
But they were starting to take on that shabby chic look, and we started hearing the birds muttering cheep cheep cheep and we were afraid they were talking about us. The shingles were starting to curl and fall off so it was time for a home rehab.
We sequestered ourselves in the workroom for the weekend and completely renovated the houses. We even added a little curb appeal by including some architectural details to the design.
We were so pleased with the outcome of these little homes that we decided to restore all of our birdhouses. A couple looked like they had never been inhabited, but a few were filled with nesting materials that were consistent with mouse or chipmunk nests. But hey, they deserve a nice warm home, too. So we scoured, sanded, painted and decorated the rest of the houses over the next two weekends.
All the houses are now awaiting tenants
We’re starting to hear birdsong and we even saw a couple of bluebirds over the weekend. So hopefully they will stop by for an open house.
A Master at the Shell Game!
Bayley the Golden Doodle has been in continuing education for the last year to try to suppress her natural “effervescence”. Her last class in the current obedience session is tomorrow night and as a requirement to pass the course, the dogs have to perform a trick. This is what we are going to do.
Wish us luck!
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Never were truer words spoken!