Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Donkey Debacle

In a burst of over confidence after having such an enjoyable time with our new goats, I volunteered to take a pair of un-homed Donkeys from the animal rescue in PA as well. They were to be miniature donkeys, pets if you will, and they were described as the greatest family entertainment since Walt Disney.

The donkeys arrived by horse trailer in the middle of a dark and stormy Sunday night while the boys were away at camp, As soon as the donkeys exited the trailer, they looked at each other as a bolt of lightening streaked across the sky and HHEEEEE HAWWWED as loudly and as many times as they could without passing out. I have never heard an animal make a sound louder than these donkeys. Hambone and I looked at each other with grave uncertainty.

The animal rescue people mentioned that these donkeys were intact males, "Jacks" if you will. And then they got in their truck and left us with a couple of royal Jack asses.  All through the night and the next day we heard voluminous HEE HAWWWING and the donkeys fought with each other as hard as they could. For instance, one would sidle up to the other, shoulder to flank in an adorable manner, and then reach down with teeth bared to bite the hell out of the other's leg. Or they would run up to each other and bite each others' necks and backs.

The Donkey Rage spread out to the goats and chickens as well. The only person who enjoyed the donkeys was Elwood, who would goad the donkeys into chasing him along the fence. Elwood the dog was sure this was a game, but judging by the donkeys' eyes, this was a murder mission. Lucky for all, the fence kept them separated.

We also started getting a few passive aggressive texts from the neighbors about the extreme noise of the donkeys. The noise just never got better.

That Wednesday, just a few days from drop off day, we begged the rescue to take the donkeys back. Mercifully, the trailer arrived a few hours later to take one of them away. The second left on that Sunday just a few hours after the boys returned from camp.

And that was the donkey adventure. Memorable. Noisy. Brief.

And the neighbors rejoiced.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Exploring Farming

So we have been raising chickens for about a year and a half now--Hambone decided last April that it was time to teach the boys some responsibility so the poor chickens are our experiment in showing the boys what it means when you do or don't follow through on things. And being Hambone, we did not have a simple lot of 4 or 5 chickens show up. Instead we were blessed with 30 chickens all at once.

And of course when you live in the country and start talking about your thirty chickens, your neighbors who have chicken projects start donating their chickens to you. At one point we had a flock of about 36 running around in our yard.

Fast forward to winter, where there was a hungry mink in the yard and the flock dwindled to 12. This spring another dozen new chickens (plus two more from the neighbor) appeared in April like clockwork, thanks to the farm store.

The boys have really taken to the chickens, and while they still moan and complain about feeding and watering them, they've done a pretty good job. They sell a dozen eggs to the neighbors each weekend and earn a little money that way ($5 a dozen!) and all is well.

Mom watched all of this and at random heard from the local animal shelter that 100 goats had been forfeited. They were all pet goats, and Mom is such a big softie that she adopted two right away. They're pretty Nubian goats.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Well, Hambone and I noticed that the egg production of the chickens was waaaay down over the last week or so. like we're down from 12 a day to 3. This was a major conundrum for our boys' egg business. Then we noticed a black snake curled up in the corner of the hen house.  Being an environmentalist, Mom said "Just leave the snake in there, it's not hurting anyone and it's not poisonous. It can't even eat the chickens."  Meanwhile we looked for other solutions to the egg situation.

After a week of looking at possible other scenarios, Hambone went to the hen house to have a nice conversation with the snake about the eggs. When he opened the door, he noticed the snake was in the laying nest, curled around the eggs.

Hambone then chased the snake out of the hen house with a stick, and on its way out, the snake pooed an egg. Because Mom was against killing the snake (the idea was to bring the snake to Hambone's office to eat mice over there) Hambone used the stick to try to lift the snake into a bucket. When the snake was lifted up, it vomited out two more eggs.

All this commotion caused the chickens to flock around. They saw something food-like on the ground so they started trying to eat the puked eggs, and the goats seized this opportunity to rush into the hen house and start gobbling up the chicken's food like it was candy.

The snake was not cooperating with the bucket plan at all either, so Hambone was bending over, lifting the snake up in the air with the stick, and then right over the bucket, the snake made an artistic arc of its body so that it could not be placed into the bucket. Over and over, 20 times or so this happened. Meanwhile, the egg gorging and chicken food feast added a comedic level of chaos. Hambone's frustration at the entire scenario was the cherry on top.

This morning the snake is in the Tesla on its way to Rosedale, the chickens and the goats are reset for a new day.  Two more goats arrive this week to add just one more level to the fun.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Jeepers Creepers...

So my Middle Schooler rides the bus to school now, 45 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon, and he is receiving a Master's Degree in adolescence. Little Ham is physically developing a little faster than Hamslice and is besieged with curiosity and ideas about his body and... others' bodies.

Unrelated to the bus, Hambone and I decided to attend an event without the boys -- a 2 hour meeting with a church group.  While we're gone, Hamslice calls us many times, completely beside himself regarding Little Ham's use of my laptop computer.

We rushed home from our event and the boys were "already in bed" when we got home, so I looked at the browser history and search word history on my laptop. Sure enough, there were little boy queries about "boobs" and "sex people" and so on. They had discovered some pornography sites, which were handily stored in my history.

So what to do.

Well, Mom had 3 brothers growing up and she knows a thing or two.  And she is a fan of the theater.

Fast forward to breakfast, Mom comes into the kitchen all flustered with the laptop open to the worst of the pornographic sites that the boys had viewed the night before. I declared that the website had added code to my computer, and now this is the only thing that shows on the computer anymore and that I will need to do a FACTORY RESET to get rid of it. Then I just Left The Site Up on my screen all through breakfast, set on the counter right behind my face for all of breakfast.

Did I yell at them? No. Did I make threats? No. I feel like that was enough. I only wish I had the presence of mind to get a pic of their shamed faces as they poked at their shredded wheat.

(Then, of course, I changed the login to my laptop to keep them out of there forever)

Two weeks later, I get a call from school that Little Ham is using his school computer to show his classmates pictures of penises. The school asked if I had recommendations about how to handle it, and I explained about the situation above. The school followed my lead -- they took away Little Ham's laptop, replacing it with a desktop computer that he has to wheel around on a cart like the scarlet letter.

I said this was a great idea, and maybe they could also put a bell on it.

These boys. They have No. Idea. who they are dealing with. Mwah ha ha