Tag Archives: horses

New Additions

Well, that pregnant goat my husband bought last finally gave birth–and to triplets no less. Two boys and a girl as cute as can be. They are just as lovely as Chiveta–making them way better looking than the kinder boys we have running about.

One of the boys is Spot because he has yep you guessed it, a spot on the back of his neck. The other we really haven’t named, except to say Not Spot, so maybe that’s his name. We can only keep one of them anyway, so best not to get too attached. The girl we’ve decided to call Bunny, which was also the name of a lovely twin that got goat-napped a few years ago. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

Meanwhile, he’s gone and bought a pregnant mare. Our horse Lady is just 2 years old and won’t be ready to breed for a while. I’m pushing my husband to wait to breed her until she is three, but she may go into heat this summer.

Anyway, back to the new horse. The guy up the hill had 4 horses which he let run semi-wild in an overgrown area. He’s decided 4 is too many so wanted to sell one. My husband immediately decided this was the horse for him. I asked him to wait until I saw it, so Sunday afternoon, he dragged me hither and yon to hunt down the horse. Eventually, she and her herd buddies were located and my husband brought her to the fence to meet me.

I estimate she’s about 10 years old, although the owner is saying she’s only 8. A lady never tells her age anyway. This is her third pregnancy and it’s quite advanced. I think she’ll have her foal before the month is out, but my husband says not yet. I also think it will be a boy. So we’ll see what happens there.

She’s a nice docile horse. My husband says she “my” horse but that’s not really true. She and Lady have decided that they can be friends. Since I’m in charge of the naming around here, she’s been christened Cookie. She’s mostly white with a salt-and-pepper mane and tail with black freckles all over her face.

My husband had to go and get her that very afternoon even though he hasn’t finished paying for her because he was concerned there wasn’t any water where she was being kept. And it’s been SO hot the past few days. He and my son led her down to our house and she drank 3 buckets of water, so she was thirsty.

Our population explosion isn’t quite finished. We are still waiting for the pregnant ewe to give birth. My husband keeps saying any day now.

*******

Would you like to read more about our animals?

Check out Wascally Wabbits and Zombie Babies: Animal Antics South of the Border

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry

Horse Trader

One evening I got home and was going about my business when I heard a whiny from the animal area.  Now we haven’t had a horse since my husband sold them (See A dismantling of sorts) and the whiny perplexed me.  So I headed out to find that in place of our 6 goats, there was a tallish red young stallion with a black mane.  

He was friendly, but a bit on the thin side.  Probably not well cared for by his previous owner.  Of course, that doesn’t explain how he got into our animal area and the location of the goats.  I waited around for my husband to get home and demand an explanation.  He was a bit worse for wear, so the explanation had to wait until morning.

It seems that in addition to his poor choice of activities the night before, he had made a deal for a horse that he didn’t have any intention of buying. However, as soon as the neighbor down the road expressed some interest in this horse, my husband had to have him.  He traded our 6 goats and $1000 pesos for Alto (Tall boy).

Along with the subsequent hangover, he had a huge case of buyer’s remorse.  We had already determined that a horse is not profitable.  If my husband isn’t sharecropping, the horse has no way to earn its keep.  A horse provides no milk or eggs.  This particular horse couldn’t even be ridden as it was in such a malnourished state.  Plus, we no longer had any horse gear (saddles, bridles, reins, etc). Well, if he wanted a horse so bad, he’d have to figure out how to maintain it.

My husband went hither and yon looking for a new owner for Alto.  Alto didn’t mind. There was plenty of grass and over the month he spent with us, he plumped out considerably.  Finally, a new deal was struck.  In exchange for Alto, my husband would receive 2 boy chivitos (young goats) which were part of a triplet birth, always a good thing (See Goat Genetics) and a young yeguita (mare) plus $3500 pesos.  Immediately upon the transfer, my husband took one of the chivitos (because you only ever need one macho per herd) and traded it for one of Jirafa’s twins. (See Assassin Goat )

With some of the money from this deal, my husband bought La Flaca (Skinny) and La Chica (Small one), both white goats.  There was some talk about selling the new mare for $5000 pesos, but that deal fell through.  Meanwhile, the rest of the $3500 went to buy Jirafa and her other twin back.  

Another deal that didn’t happen was the sale of La Flaca. Jirafa had been trained to return to the corral once full.  La Flaca was not. My husband was not happy with her as she liked to travel hither and yon instead of staying put.  She also divided the herd.  Half would follow Jirafa, half La Flaca.  As the potential buyer didn’t have the cash, my husband wasn’t about to just let her go for free and fiado (with a promise to pay later).  So La Flaca became part of the herd with the provision of being tied should her nomadic nature caused her to roam.  

The herd was back up to 6 again and we still had a horse.  She was a pleasant horse and there really was no reason not to embrace her into the family.  However, our hearts had been broken with the sale of Shadow and it took some time for my son and me to accept Buttercup.  She was fattening up nicely now that she had proper care.  My husband thought she was a bit older than the previous owner stated because of the length of her tail, but malnourishment kept her from growing properly.  She will probably be smallish, but that’s ok.  Our rancho is smallish.  She isn’t large enough to be ridden or bred.  We’ll have to see how things go during the dry season when food is not as plentiful.  I would say she is on provisional permanence.

My husband still had it in mind to add to the animal holdings.  Suddenly there were two borregas (sheep).  I have been opposed to sheep because they bleat all the time, but these two have been bearable.  The previous owner assured my husband that they both were pregnant, but that remains to be seen. They know they are sheep and not goats and have nothing to do with the goats.  They refuse to share their corral and only just barely tolerate their presence while grazing.  I think Puppy thinks they are largish dogs.  (See Separating the Sheep and the Goats

Oh yes, we have a new puppy.  Again, we were reluctant to open our hearts to another dog after Chokis was poisoned, but Puppy appeared and we are smitten.  He is friendly, obedient and so wants to be a house dog.  Of course, my husband is opposed to that, so he’s only a house dog when he isn’t around.  Puppy and I take a walk every morning and most afternoons now that my schedule has freed up (See Transition year).  He and Devil, our macho cat, are buddies. The only problem is he refuses to be inside during the day and chases motorcycles, so we are concerned someone will either run him over or poison him. (See 101 Perritos) People here have an irrational fear of dogs.  He does like to jump on people to have his head rubbed so we’ve been working on retraining him not to do that or chase motorcycles.  As for his name, well it was supposed to be Rascal, but he responds to Puppy, so Puppy it is.  My husband keeps threatening to give him away, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Puppy goes with him and the goats and the moment my husband sits down, there’s Puppy ready for a head scratch practically climbing in his lap.

************************Enroll now in the Materia Medica Course!

2 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading

Hate thy neighbor

shadow

Our lovely girl Shadow, grazing peaceably.

Yesterday, someone injured our lovely lady Shadow. She and Joey were behind that house. While my son was just up the road with the goats, someone sliced Shadow’s leg, unclipped her rope and startled her so that she, Joey and Chokis the dog, bolted down the road to the main intersection. It was our good fortune that the neighbor, the cow barn guy, was coming to collect one of his cows and passed them on the road. He stopped to let me know and urged me to use my moto to catch up with them before they reached the highway. He even loaned my son a lasso since Shadow’s lasso was still tied to the mesquite. I pulled out the moto and my son hopped on behind. He had come a-running as soon as he realized the horses were gone, leaving the goats to fend for themselves.

At top speed, we raced down the road and found the three escapees under a tree off the road. My son walked back home with them. Joey was ornery as all get out, but Shadow had been injured. We put the horses back in their stalls and went in search of the goats, who had wandered up the hill. Seeing the gravity of the injury to Shadow’s leg, I determined that my husband should be notified immediately. Only, he had left his phone at the house. So I raced to his work to tell him and somehow or other he beat me home to take stock of the damage.

Shadow was injured in two places. One was a clean, deep gash all the way to the bone. The other was a jagged edge wound like she got caught on some barbed wire. We won’t know if she has nerve damage until the wounds heal up, but she’s in a lot of pain right now.

This isn’t the first time one of our animals has been deliberately harmed.  Our poor, defenseless donkey Fiona was shot in the hind leg.  Our babies’ mama Beauty‘s hoof was sliced nearly in half.  Countless dogs and cats have been poisoned. Makes you want to cry sometimes.

We suspect C as having done the deed this time. (See Buying a piece of heaven) There’s no proof of course. And really, there isn’t any valid reason, at least in our opinion, for him to have done so. Although he planted corn this year where my husband usually sharecrops (See Sharecropping) our horses have NEVER been in his corn. On the contrary, we have reason to complain about his pig farming. Every few days, another one of his pigs has died and he throws the corpse wherever where Chokis discovers the tasty morsel of raw, rotting bacon and hauls big sections of it down to our house and leaves it at the front door as a present. It’s disgusting! However, we haven’t called the Department of Ecologia yet.

grazing Shadow

Notice there is not a corn plant to be seen!

This week we have also had a complaint from another neighbor. He claims that it was our horses that have been nibbling his corn. It simply isn’t true. Ever since our other neighbor’s horses were stolen last year, including Spirit one of Beauty’s babies, we have kept our horses close to home. They are either tied or within sight. When no one is there to mind them, they remain in their stalls. The neighbor’s reasoning is that our horses are the closest to his corn field. But we are by no means the only neighbors with horses.

loose horses

Caught in the act! These horses happily munching the corn crop belong to the horse guy!

The horse guy, up the hill, has three horses, two of which are the same size and coloring as Joey and Shadow. Having heard hoof clopping late at night, we suspect that he may let his horses loose at night to graze. But again, we can’t prove anything.

He and the chicken feather guy were recently feuding. The chicken feather guy had a goat in with his pigs. The goat was not a happy goat and we could hear it bleating and bleating, probably because it was alone. One day, the goat disappeared. The horse guy accused my father-in-law of stealing the goat. The chicken feather guy went over to where my father-in-law keeps his goats to look for it. Boy, did that make my father-in-law mad. Not finding his goat there, the chicken feather guy scurried off, tail between his legs. If you think a 67-year-old man isn’t scary, you haven’t seen my father-in-law in the throes of righteous indignation with a machete in his hand.

So the suspect in the goat kidnapping fell back on the horse guy, who hotly denied it, of course. In retribution, the chicken feather guy set La Yacata on fire, destroying the grazing area of the horse guy’s horses. So now he lets them free graze.

The chicken feather guy and the horse guy outdo themselves as ladrones (thieves). Just last week, my son was bringing the goats home and came across the chicken feather guy loading various and sundry building material items into the back of his truck from the lot that belongs to the cholo boracho (drunk punk), another neighbor. I think perhaps cholo boracho is in jail at the moment, otherwise, I don’t think the chicken feather guy would have had the guts to steal from him. When he saw my son, he covered his face as if he was suddenly unrecognizable. Feel free to take a moment to roll your eyes here.

The horse guy has been sighted making off with building materials wherever he may find them as well. He has tried to pin the thefts on us, after all, we live full-time in La Yacata, as that were evidence enough or something. For instance, the newest neighbors recently returned from a 20-year stint in el Norte (the US), are constructing a cabaña (cabin) in La Yacata. Every week or so, something goes missing. The horse guy is very vocal about it being us. It isn’t. Having spent so long in the US, the newest neighbors have a fond prejudice for gringos and a belief in their overall honesty. So, as far as I know, they don’t believe us to have sticky fingers, but I could be wrong.

If “Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.” –Plato, and the hearts and souls of La Yacata are representative of all of Mexico it is no wonder that 43 students are still missing, that journalists and activists are murdered, and that the countryside is full of mass graves.

Well, as my husband says “El cantaro da muchos vueltas” (what goes around comes around)

I counter with “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) and Karma is sweet.

********************************************************

disclosure

11 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry, Cultural Challenges, Homesteading, La Yacata Revolution

Reducing the herds

When last I wrote about our animal kingdom, we were bursting at the seams. (See Old MacDonald’s Farm) Since then we’ve whittled away at our herds. For the most part, our animal conglomeration is more manageable. That’s not to say that expansion won’t happen again in the near future. After all, our goats reproduce every 5 months or so, which doubles the population. But, well, that’s in the future yet.

So the first animal to go was the bull, Toro. He was sold for a good profit to the man who owns the carniceria in town. We didn’t have him long enough to get too attached. The money from his sale went towards the purchase of Nanny goat, her little brown son and two borregas (sheep).

nanny goat

Nanny goat is the largest and darkest pictured.

We sold Stinky Chivo, our macho goat. He was related to nearly all our female goats, and we try to avoid a lot of inbreeding. (See Goat Genetics) Then we traded 2 chivitos (boy goats) for a new macho, Jason Boer. He’s a Boer goat, obviously, known for their heavy build. We hope that his genes will buff up the next generation of kids a bit. He started right in on his husbandly duties even though he is only about 7 months old. We can’t wait to see the results in a few months.

Our herd was still too macho heavy, so we sold 3 more chivitos including Nanny goat’s little brown son. That leaves us with Peanut Butter and Jason Boer for male representation right now.

Jason

Jason Boer, our most recent macho.

Then we sold the 5 borregas (sheep) and Vaquita to the man who makes birria in town. I was delighted to see the borregas go. The backyard barnyard is much quieter now. (See Separating the Sheep from the Goats) We sold Vaquita because somehow or other, her leg had been broken. My son’s story was that he had chucked a rock to scare Queenie back into the field, but the rock hit a boulder, ricocheted up and hit Vaquita’s front leg. Even after we used half of a plastic tube in a makeshift cast, her leg just wasn’t healing. I’m sure she’ll make delicious birria.

One of the twin vaquitas (daughters of Vaquita) also turned up one afternoon with a broken leg. We are still not sure what happened. She wasn’t able to use her back leg for 2 or three weeks, then suddenly she was all better. Now we can’t tell her or her sister apart again. And here we were planning a barbecue…

Our rabbits are no more. During a sudden squall, one of our rabbits drowned. We ate two, stewed with potatoes, onions, and celery. Yummy! The last one died of unknown causes. It had a permanent tilt to its head, it’s ear seemed chewed off, and one morning it suddenly didn’t have an eye. Our best guess is that the chickens pecked it to death.

Mr. and Mrs. Turkey are gone too. The goats trampled Mr. Turkey one day while rushing the gate, but after a few days, he was up and around again. Instead, Mrs. Turkey just up and died the next week. It didn’t seem worth the time and effort to keep turkeys if we weren’t getting any eggs. So we sold Mr. Turkey for someone’s Sunday dinner.

As my husband has decided not to plant this year (See Failing at your own business–sharecropping) Fiona the donkey is also gone. For a time, there was quite a competition going between several old men. One offered to trade his old burro for Fiona. Another offered to buy her outright, but only came to the house when my husband was working, so they never came to an agreement on the price. My husband finally sold her back to her original owner. While the owner lacks something in the personal hygiene department, his animals are well cared for. They ought to be, living in the house as they are.

chokis

Chokis, the dog, went with Fiona. He trotted along behind Fiona all the way to her new/old home. They were best buddies after all. He was gone a week, then came back to us. He was overjoyed to be home.  He apparently tried to orchestrate an escape for Fiona as well.  He chewed through her halter before leaving, much to the annoyance of her new/old owner.

kittens

Available for adoption!

Our engorda de gatos (cat fattening farm) underwent a few changes as well. Devil 2 went in a burlap feed sack to the man who bought the borregas, free of charge. She wasn’t too happy about it though. Miss Licorice Whip delivered three more little kitties, Licky 3, Tiger and Angel. In a few weeks, they will be available for adoption if you’re interested. We plan on keeping only Miss Licorice Whip, Licky 2, and Devil 1, although my son is petitioning for Tiger as well.

chickens

Our hens have hatched 6 pollitos (chicks) so far. Any increase in the chicken population is welcomed. More hens mean more eggs. More roosters mean more chicken soup. It’s all good. (See Why did the chicken cross the road?)

barn swallow nest

The barn swallows made their nest on the beam of our recently finished second floor.

We also have barn swallows nesting on our second floor. While we managed to get the roof on, we haven’t been able to afford the windows or doors yet. As a result, the swallow parents swoop in and out with ease. We will enjoy watching their hatchlings grow like we did with Mrs. Macho the pigeon, at least until we get around to claiming the second floor for ourselves.

shadow grazing

Grazing Shadow.

We still have both Joey and Shadow.  With our decreased herd and increased space, each now has his or her own enclosure to shelter overnight and in inclement weather.  Definitely, an improvement there! (See Beauty’s Babies and Joey el potrillo)

**********************************************************
Enroll now in the Materia Medica Course!

disclosure

6 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading