Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Looking different

The ducklings continue to grow bigger, and are starting to get feathers vs. fuzz. Check out the brown feathers coming through. They look different each day and are so funny to watch as they waddle around.

Speaking of looking differently... look at our poor pony, Taz. This spring, Starburst decided to chew on his beautiful tail. His tail used to almost hit the ground. It was so long and gorgeous. Now look at it. He looks like a colt. As if that wasn't bad enough, the other day I found Taz's forelock looking like he was hit with a weed-whacker! It appears now Starburst is reaching OVER THE FENCE to chew on Taz. I swear, I'm going to have to muzzle that little turkey!

It reminds me of a typical little kid. It seems nearly every young kid tries to cut either his/her own hair or the hair of a friend or sibling. I guess horses are no different.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


You should hear how quiet it is here. The bus just picked up the kids for the first day of school. Nobody's fighting. The tv isn't blaring the Disney channel. No one is wrestling with the dogs. No one is tattling on anyone. There is nobody "calling" the last bowl of cereal. Ahhhhh! I'm just typing away with my cup of coffee in complete silence. What a difference from the past few months!

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The Ducklings Are 2 Weeks Old

These ducks are growing almost as fast as the weeds! It truly seems like they double in size twice a day. Unfortunately, one of the little fuzzies died last week. I wasn't very surprised because he was much smaller, and seemed weaker, than the others and just wasn't growing much. It looks like the other eight are doing fine though.

We can't trust our two rat terriers with the ducks for even a second, but our lab, Stewie, seems to actually enjoy watching them waddle around the yard as much as we do. Sometimes he runs in circles around them and then seems disappointed when they won't chase him.

Last night, I tested the ducks' ability to eat Japanese beetles. After all, this was one of the big reasons I wanted ducks in the first place. I knocked a bunch of them off of my beans and into a coffee can, and then dumped them into their water pan - just like my neighbor recommended. Boy, she wasn't pulling my leg! They all went crazy, diving in and gobbling them up. I was so proud. Next year's beans are already looking forward to having these wacky quackers guarding the garden.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Back From Horse Camp

Erin just got home from horse camp. She was at Cedar Valley Stables in Tipton, Ia. ( is also the same location where I first rode a horse, went to horse camp and worked as a ranch hand in my younger days. It is my favorite place on the planet, and is the backdrop for the vast majority of my favorite childhood memories. So I think I was as excited about my little girl going to camp there as she was. We attended the camp horse show and brought her home last night. It was so much fun to talk to her about her camp experiences and share my own. I had dug out all my old "ranch" photos and had fun comparing. First, is me with "Diamond Jim" at age 12. Next, is Erin, last night, age 13, with "Cochise."

Now for our horse shows. First, me on "Scottie" at my horse show in 1980. Next is Erin, last night, on "Cochise" at her horse show.

This mom was pretty excited to have the opportunity to see her "baby" out there following in her footsteps. :)

The ranch suffered extensive damage this spring during the flooding. The water reached levels never before seen. Anyone that has ever been there will be shocked by the photos on this link. Click on the slideshow. You just won't believe it:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My niece, Joey

In June, my sister came to visit from Colorado. She brought her doggie-daughter, Joey, with her. She is the smartest, sweetest, goofiest Springer Spaniel there is, and we all adore her. She's better behaved and better trained than any of our dogs, that's for sure. Look at that face!

As you can see, Cole and Joey are very similar in personality. They get along great.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ducklings - One week old

Boy are these ducks fun! Look how big they're getting already!


Introducing, STARBURST, my daughter's favorite horse in the world. He is a yearling, Appaloosa colt.

Last year, Erin turned twelve, was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent two surgeries to remove a tumor in her lung as well as the lower half of her left lung all within the month of May. As a birthday gift and incentive to get well soon, Starburst was given to Erin by a multitude of kind and caring friends who certainly knew how to raise the spirits of our horse-crazy daughter.

Today, Erin and Starburst are growing up together. Here are a few pictures of their past year together:

This is Erin and Cole, visiting with Starburst before heading off to Iowa City for surgery.

After two weeks in the hospital, Erin couldn't wait to get back to her new friend!

She had barely recovered from surgery before Erin started working with her little buddy.

Erin still loves to ride Brett, who has been a big help in showing Starburst the ropes.

This "little guy" is quickly growing into a big guy!
He's already as tall as our other full-grown horses and he still has a lot of time to grow even bigger!

Today, these two are quite a pair.

Once he's old enough to ride, look out.
These two are going to be inseparable.
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

The ducks are here!

I have ducklings! Yippee! I've been wanting Golden Cascade ducks since this spring. First, I ordered hatching eggs from someone in Colorado. I don't know what went wrong, but every single egg was developing nicely, almost all pipped the shell at hatch time, and then died in the shell. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

Then I learned that a hatchery in Iowa sells Golden Cascades. It was about an hour drive from me. So I ordered some. And then I waited and waited and waited... These things take time, you know. Sometimes there are complications, like I had myself. So finally, I got a call this week that my little quackers were ready!

At that point, I asked if they had any extra runner ducklings. You see, my dear husband saw some runner ducks at the county fair this year. If you've never seen a runner duck, you have to follow this link for a good laugh.
They are long and upright, much like a bowling pin with legs and a beak. As soon as he saw them, Dave asked me, "What is THAT?!" I told him a little about the silly runner ducks. He immediately told me that if I was going to bring home ducks, he wanted at least one of those crazy looking things. :)

Anyway... it just so happened that the hatchery thought they might have some runners. So when the kids and I drove out last night, there were two runner ducklings in the box as well. The funny thing is, they are buff runners, and the Golden Cascades are a buff color too. Right now, all the ducklings are yellow and you can't really tell them apart yet. Guess we'll have to wait until they get older. Originally, I only wanted 4 or 5 ducks. So I ordered 6. You know, just in case... Well, the hatchery had already sent an "extra", plus the two runners. So now I have 9 ducklings. Funny how they multiply, eh? Of course, they are totally adorable. As I type, my son has a sheet on the living room floor and is watching tv with a couple of them. See for yourself.

Check out this little one. Cole has already taught her to smile pretty for the camera! :)

Stay tuned. There will undoubtedly be many duck updates in the future.