Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

postheadericon The Goats Have Landed – Our Lives Will Never Be Boring Again

For many years the hubby told me that he didn’t care what type of animals we had, as long as there weren’t any goats. He had apparently been traumatized in the past by a little pygmy billy goat that had it in for him.

 

The hubby claims that the guilty-until-proven-innocent little goat ate parts of his Jeep. He supposedly broke the windshield on his other car by using it as a goat parkour springboard. I advised him that if there aren’t photos or a chewed up Jeep as proof, it didn’t happen.

 

Goat with tilted head at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So I went along with this edict without complaining, much. After all, we have horses, cattle, turkeys, chickens, dogs and cats. HE even had a Red-tailed Boa Constrictor as a pet snake for a while. It’s not like we are missing out on too many things.

 

But, anyone who is online these days knows the internet is overflowing with videos of baby goats. These kids are shown bouncing around and bringing joy to the lives of those who own them. You know I wanted to be one of those happy people. When hubby told me NO for the 500th time, I sounded just like my nephew at age 3. We had to tell him the pink Hello Kitty purse was his sister’s and not for him, “But I neeeeeeeeeeed it!”

 

(And before anyone protests that he should have been able to have a pink Hello Kitty purse if he wanted one, his sister was wanting to use her purse at that particular moment. We offered to get him his own, but he was immediately off and running to his next interest and adventure.)

 

Lawn mowing at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I used the fact that our spring has been one of the wettest in decades. We are overrun with tall grass and lots of weeds. My husband didn’t fall for my logic that if we had goats, he wouldn’t have to mow every few days. He couldn’t be swayed by the cute and bouncy videos I kept sending to his phone.

 

I reminded him that I would have access to fresh goat milk instead of canned for making cheese and soaps, he still said no.

 

 

 

Goat in Tree at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I know these things are true, but….. Then one magical day, he just gave up. My persistence/pestering/pleading paid off. A good friend of ours needed to sell her two pet does. She had to find someone she trusted to care for them like she would. The hubby graciously caved and told me I could get the two girls. I made the deal.

 

Of course, I sorta forgot to mention that one of them was pregnant, very very pregnant, but he’s a good sport. “In for a penny, in for a pound” or in this case, “What’s one more little goat?” OK, so I may have also forgotten to let him know that she had twin bucklings her first time…

 

Goats Cookie and Nibbles at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So without further ado and fanfare, meet The Goats aka The Goots.

 

The Goats

Cookie is a Toggenburg doe who is just over a year old.

redbarnblueskies.com Cookie the Toggenburg Goat

 

Nibbles is a LaMancha doe around two years old.

redbarnblueskies.com NIbbles the LaMancha Goat

 

And then, we have the kids: Groot (mostly black) and Greta (mostly white) are the bouncing baby goats (called kids) born to Nibbles on March 27th. Their father is a wandering Kinder buck so they are half Kinder/half LaMancha. They obviously didn’t inherit the itty-bitty ears of their mama.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Groot and Greta goats

 

The hubby won’t admit it, but he is smitten by all of our newest additions. The very first night they were here he ended up sitting in the pen with them until after dark. He has also admitted to looking forward to some of my goat milk cheese with herbs in the near future..

 

I am so blessed to have married a man who is just as big of an animal lover as I am – even when he pretends otherwise. Our life is full of love.

 

Please join us again soon as we continue to share the adventures of Groot and Greta along with the rest of our menagerie.

 

By the way, have you ever seen those darling little miniature donkeys?

 

postheadericon Landmines and Hairballs Oh My! The Benefits of Proper Nutrition from Pet Food

I’m sitting here tonight going over our monthly and annual budgets. We’ve been doing pretty good at saving some money wherever we can in our goal to move to another state next year. I’ve worked at slashing our spending and am surprised at the savings I’ve found in one important area – pet food.

 

By pets, I’m not including the poultry, horses or cattle. Strictly dogs and cats – 3 pooches and 7 purrers. Even though we are now feeding a higher priced feed to both cats and dogs, we have actually been saving quite a bit of money. It all comes down to a better quality feed and the animals eating/needing less to be healthier and more satisfied.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Adolph and pet food

 

Even though I am fairly well versed in animal nutrition, I used to be bad about watching sales and using coupons for my cat and dog food. Whatever seemed to be decent pet food for a decent price AND had coupons available prompted me to try to save a buck. Unfortunately, my critters paid for it with poor coats and up/down weight issues. So I went to the other extreme and bought really pricey, overly hyped feeds. I think probably more to assuage my guilt than anything else. This also didn’t really benefit my animals or my pocketbook.

 

Flash forward to last winter when I went to work part-time for our new Tractor Supply. I chatted with a few of the nutritionists and feed reps to see what they were feeding their own animals. I found it very interesting that most of them were using the TSC brand “4 Health” pet food. It’s priced pretty much in the middle of the scale and the ingredients seem to be exceptionally good. So I gradually switched my crews over to the age or issue-appropriate formulas and I am thrilled!

 

4Health Mature Dog Food at Red Barn Blue Skies Pet Food

Both cats and dogs have all done very well with these feeds. Their coats are thick and glossy, they all maintain healthy weights, fewer hairballs for the cats and a large bonus overall – less poop. That may seem funny or trivial to some, but when you have a 125 pound hound, you want much smaller landmines and way fewer of them. Since there are so many less fillers and more of the good nutrients, the animals utilize the feed better and need less to be happily full.

 

So I’m curious what kind of pet food do you feed your furballs? Anyone else use 4 Health?

postheadericon Ernestina Hemingway – Our Polydactyl Cat

Just a quick post to introduce you to the baby of the house.  “Ernie” is a polydactyl cat with extra toes on each of her paws.  She actually has little “thumbs” on her front feet which makes her two times the menace of  the other cats ~ she can open drawers and latches like a person!  I’m baby-proofing several cabinets now.  I did try to get a better photo of her feet, but she kept swatting at me so I’ll wait until the monster is asleep for that.  You can see a bit of her thumb in the second photo.

 

As for her name, it obviously stems from a beloved and well-known figure in American history.  What isn’t quite as well known is that the Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway had a his house full of these “abnormal” polydactyl cats.  In fact, even decades after his death his home in Florida is still a haven for the descendants of his original six-toed cat that he received as a gift from a ship’s captain.

These type of cats are said to be much more common on the East Coast than here in the West.  I personally hadn’t come across one until we adopted Ernie after someone dumped her at our non-pet friends’ house.  At the time we had a hard time telling if she was indeed a girl, so I called her Ernie and Mr. MoonCat was calling her “Hemi”.  Got a little confusing since we already have a “Hammy” in the house.

postheadericon Dawg Days

The little tyrant tells him off and then attacks
(Cailen and Pippi)
The old man ignores them all
(Muttley)

 

Bottoms up!  Vole hunting..
(Chandler, Cailen & Pippi)

 

How can you stay mad at this face?
(Pippi)

 

Mama’s big baby boy
(Chandler)

 

Chandy has the toy and is ready for take-off!

postheadericon Pippi’s Opinion

Pippi, aka Peepers, Rodent, Rat Dog, *&#@(&^, etc. recently shared her opinion of Mr. MoonCat while occupying the couch with him.  I told him that it is unclear if she was commenting on his breath or his attempt at whistling.  Could be a combination of both…

 

What ARE you doing Daddy?

 

Ewwww, what IS that?

 

Make it STOP!!!

 

Just a note, Mr. MoonCat CAN NOT whistle.  It is a major cause for amusement around here as Pippi is demonstrating above.  I have to call/whistle for the dogs (or he has to yell for them) because when he tries to whistle, the dogs all just look at him with their heads cocked to the side as if asking “Why is the air escaping from Daddy’s face while he turns blue?  Why doesn’t he just have Mom whistle for us?”

postheadericon Wave from Wedgie

I spent the last few days helping Dad at the ranch.  For once I remembered to take my camera so I could update all of Wedgie’s fans with a couple of new photos.  It is hard to believe the little poop is already 5 months old!  As you can tell, he and Dad’s dog Adolph are the best of friends.  They play together all the the time.

Do you have grain for me?

 

Here I come..
Can you see me now?
Wedgie chasing Adolph?
Adolph resting after the race

postheadericon Critter Corner – Cailen

I’ve been remiss in my blog writing as well as introducing the critters that inhabit our world. Today I would like to introduce Cailen (pronounced Kuh-lin). He has many aliases though: Bubba, Pointy Eared Pest and Dingo Dog are some of the more often used. He’s a pretty pooch that we love very much.

Cailen was Michael’s dog before we met. He was just turning a year old when we got together and I think it hurt Michael’s feelings that Bubba took to me right away and was minding me better than he was Michael. I’ve just had a lot more experience with working dogs than he had so it was easier to try to channel Cailen’s natural herding abilities. I’m thinking my mastery of the “mean Mommy voice” also had a lot to do with it.
He’s a very smart dog who is extremely quick and very play driven. I feel really bad that he is going to waste as a cow dog since we don’t really have a herd to work him on at this point. We try to keep him entertained and from getting too bored by playing lots of games with him.
It really helps that he and Chandler absolutely love each other. They play constantly. It is funny to see a hound trying to be as athletic as Cailen. If Chandler didn’t have Cailen to keep him moving, he’d be lounging on the couch eating bonbons. He could easily turn into a slug. Chandler has tried to teach Cailen the art of baying so they can be a really noisy pair at times.
This series shows them :
1) sitting like goods boys,
2) Cailen slamming on the brakes just before Chandler T-bones him at full speed, and
3) the aftermath of the crash (with Cailen having never let go of his toy).
These are our boys!


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