Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

Lil’ Pup no more

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Lil’ Pup made himself quite at home since he found us. Although his size, or rather the length of his legs, kept him from joining Puppy and me on our morning walks for a few weeks, he took up his role as companion puppy as soon as he was able. From then on, he and Puppy waited at the door for me to go on my rounds. Lil’ Pup took flank position and Puppy did reconnaissance, or what he imagined was reconnaissance while chasing butterflies, rabbits, and birds.

Everything Puppy did, Lil’ Pup copied, down to ear twitching. Although Puppy seemed to get exasperated with his new little buddy at times, he was mostly good-natured about his little yellow shadow.

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Since my husband and father-in-law started work on my sister-in-law’s house across the street, they allowed Lil’ Pup, Puppy and my father-in-law’s 3 dogs (a mama dog and her two pups) to hang out at the construction site. It’s just across the street, so you’d think that they’d be safe enough. Unfortunately, the neighbors up the road started up on their own construction project again about the same time. Puppy really, really doesn’t like them. Seriously. He goes completely ballistic when they drive past on their motorcycle. And with good reason. They make it their aim to hit Puppy with a big stick when he barks at them. Instead of discouraging Puppy from barking and chasing them, it infuriates him. In fact, they even slow down in front of our house looking for Puppy to come out and bark at them so they can hit him some more.

Puppy’s chasing and barking days finally caught up with him when they ran him over with their motorcycle. Puppy is much subdued and his injuries are healing.

Then, the neighbor who has backed up the sewage line with pig poop made another appearance. He’d been MIA for about a year and we’d gotten comfortable with him not being there. In fact, Kitty has taken to spending the afternoons in the shaded pig area.

We think it was he who poisoned our Lil’ Pup and my father-in-law’s puppy perhaps in an effort to get rid of Kitty. She’s fine, but both puppies died the same day. And boy, do we miss them. My father-in-law even declared that we were officially “en luto” (in mourning).

Puppy still walks with me in the mornings, despite his injuries. However, two black as night male dogs have taken up with the 3 yappy dogs at the corner, so our walk is sometimes fraught with danger. The Alpha black dog doesn’t want Puppy to walk down HIS street. Puppy has never been an alpha dog, he’s barely a beta dog and isn’t looking to fight, but to defend me he would. So we’ve tried skirting around the dogs even if that means trudging through the mud. Sometimes that works and we pass unmolested. Other times, Alpha dog becomes more aggressive. Fortunately, he considers me more Alpha than Puppy, so some stern shouting (sometimes in Spanish, other times in English) usually keep him from following us for long.

So what’s to be done about these infringements to our lives, liberties, and happiness by the neighbors in La Yacata? Nothing.

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Lady’s Arrival

My husband got it in his head that he wasn’t complete without a horse. Our last horse, Buttercup, had been traded for some of the sheep we currently have. Instead of making this purchase on his own, like he did with Alto, he decided to talk to my son and me about this possibility. The next day, he drove me to Jacales to see the horse he was thinking of buying. She was lovely but too thin for her height, which was considerable. The owner couldn’t say exactly how old she was, but she still had her baby beard, so we are estimating that she is under a year old.IMG_20180522_105910.jpgWe took Zombie girl and a new sheep my husband had traded one of the black boy twins for to the market in Purandaro to sell. We also took Mary but she didn’t weigh enough for her to be worth selling, so we brought her home again.IMG_20180523_093108.jpgMy husband asked two different guys with trucks that have high rails how much they would charge to go and get this horse in Jacales. One said $300 and the other said $400. Both were overpriced for the distance. Our own truck, which would get there and back on $200 pesos of gas, doesn’t have high sides and there was a risk the horse might jump out on the way and get injured.

My husband decided to investigate a road that runs from La Ordena to El Moral as a possible way to bring the horse to our house without being on such a large road since he was considering bringing it home with my son leading her on the motorcycle.

I’m always up for an adventure, so we were off to La Ordena. We asked an elderly lady with her umbrella if we were on the right road. Her eyebrows went sky-high.  Yes, this was the road, but she wouldn’t say if it were passable even by moto.  On we went. Just as we came to a fork in the road, we encountered a small herd of bulls. We pulled to the left crossroad and got out of their way. We had red shirts on and all. Well, my husband had on a red shirt, mine was sorta purple but I’m not sure what sort of color spectrum bulls have and wasn’t taking any chances.IMG_20180524_124722.jpgAfter they passed, we headed down this road that although rough, was still drivable until suddenly it wasn’t. Going just a little further was a mistake and we headed back the way we came in the blistering heat and no floppy hat for me. Halfway back, we ran into another cattle herd, a bit larger this time. My husband turned the moto around and we backtracked until we found some bushes we could hide in. You may laugh, but my husband has a healthy fear of bulls, having grown up in rural areas. While he felt confident that if he were charged, he could climb a mesquite tree, he wasn’t so sure about my mesquite climbing abilities.IMG_20180524_130414.jpgWe hid there for about 10 minutes until we were sure the coast was clear. My husband decided that he would not be bringing his new horse this way after all.

While we were waiting for my check to be deposited since the sheep sale was short of the $8000 asking price, I asked my husband what name he thought he’d give her. We’ve had Black Beauty, Spirit, Shadow, Joey, Alto and Buttercup to date. I suggested Lady. His response was “Black Lady, like Michone” (from the Walking Dead.) Umm, no. That’s not what I had in mind at ALL! I offered a few other suggestions, but Black Lady stuck.

Early Friday morning, he headed to get the guia (permit) to move the horse. Every year, my husband, who has a registered brand, adds an imaginary horse to his patente (registration). This new horse could, therefore, be registered as one of those horses without a problem since she came without papers or brand.

In the end, he decided to pay someone with a properly railed truck to bring Lady home. He cleared out Joey’s old stall and escorted his new pride and joy in. She seems to really like it with us but gets nervy when we out of sight while she is tied outside.IMG_20180527_081452.jpg Since the rainy season is fast approaching, we hope she’ll be able to fill out some on all the lush greenery found in La Yacata for those few months. I’m not sure exactly how my husband plans on feeding her in the dry season, so we’ll see how it goes. For now, he picks up an armful of freshly cut alfalfa every two days from a truck that cruises around town for $120 pesos per week.  He also gets a full back of corn leaves in exchange for a costal (feed bag) and 5 pesos from the guy who sells elotes (corn on the cob) from the back of his truck in town. Then we still have some dried alfalfa bales and a few dried corn bales which should keep Lady and the sheep happy until the heavens open up.IMG_20180523_153455.jpg

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More Lil’uns

Mama Hen wasn’t satisfied with hatching out el ejército this year.  She went for the second esquadron. While she was busy incubating, our other broody hen, that only managed to hatch 1 lone soldier (albeit special forces fuzzy feet) took over command of el ejército.  

 

Our upstairs cat Licky, so named because she prefers to eat her dinner upstairs on the back porch tried to get one of those roaming chicken nuggets one day.  She wasn’t successful however now whenever our downstairs cat Kitty, that looks nearly identical to Licky, is out back, she is subject to hysterical henpecking.  She’s taken refuge in a pile of sticks, sort of like a fort and won’t come out unless I’m down there on the steps.

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Kitty during the Zombie Chicken apocalypse.

Then one day, my son was playing his guitar in his room and suddenly heard some whimpering from outside his window.  It was a scruffy yellow puppy and he looked to us for salvation. After asking the neighbors, we pieced together his story. We think he had been abandoned at the top of La Yacata and spent the day wandering hither and yon through the hostile terrain until he heard signs of civilization and made his way to the shade by my son’s window.  He was full of fleas. It took quite a bit of effort to clear that infestation up. He’s a bit of a scamp.

IMG_20180507_110939.jpgPuppy doesn’t seem to mind Lil’pup but has become a little sullen and maybe even a little depressed.  Any new addition to the family is bound to upset the older brother. We have been trying to pay extra attention to Puppy so that he knows he is still loved.

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The Return of the Zombies

To add to the desolate wasteland landscape currently found in La Yacata because of the scorched earth from clearing burns, someone dumped a dead donkey near the house. Being curious, my husband decided to check it out.  According to his forensic examination, the donkey showed signs of having been hit by a car. While he’s not positive, he thinks it might have been the same donkey that was plowing the area where we sometimes sharecrop. His report included the fact that the guys plowing got progressively drunker during the course of the day while plowing so it wouldn’t have been too hard for an improperly tied donkey to wander out into the road.

I’ve already mentioned that the road past La Yacata has become quite deadly.  It’s almost as if there is a game of points going on–10 points for the old guy on his bicycle, 20 for the guy on the donkey, 15 points for loose livestock, etc. Since my last update, there have been 3 more fatalities (not including this donkey).  One guy, heading to La Yacata to work with the borrega guy, was hit by a truck and dismembered. The guy driving the truck tried to bribe his way out of being held accountable, but the witnesses wouldn’t let him go until the police arrived and arrested him. Doesn’t change the fact that a man is dead though.

Anyway, back to the dead donkey.  It wasn’t there 12 hours before large wild dogs and coyotes found the carcass.  Every night, the two factions snarled and barked and yipped over their meal. Puppy was terrified.  Nary a sound did he make in response, which isn’t like him at all. Even on our daily walks, he didn’t linger but stayed right next to me, especially as we passed the inflated corpse.

Sure enough, all this commotion attracted the attention of zombies. Segue creepy music….The zombie babies have returned. Remember how the three zombie babies were sent to live with the neighbor who had a cow that could provide them with milk since our goats and sheep weren’t able to keep up with their voracious appetites?  Well, the neighbor decided it was high time they started foraging for themselves and brought them to the barn that borders our property. My husband saw them and negotiated for one of the zombie girls. She came back to live with us during some video filming and caused me some anxious moments. Puppy wasn’t happy at all.  It seems that zombie girl thinks she’s a pet and just won’t stay in the animal area. Twice now, she’s tried to eat Puppy’s food and he’s bitten her nose. My husband was furious but I pointed out that it was only natural that Puppy would defend his food dish from zombie invasion.

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A bit bigger, much healthier, but still UGLY!

The next to return was zombie boy.  He and Oreo bump heads for the honor of being head sheep boy, but I’m pretty sure Oreo is going to come out on top in the end.  The third of the zombie trio didn’t return, but I’m fine with just two zombies. 

 

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