HAITI Earthquake Relief

AARP will match dollar for dollar all contributions, up to $500,000.  Please contribute what you can.  They need the money to allocate accordingly to their needs to supply medicine, food, clothing and shelter.

Please consider a donation of any amount,  that will be matched by AARP, doubling your gift. Follow this link:


“AARP Foundation is proud to be working with HelpAge USA and its international parent organization HelpAge International to rush emergency relief to older and aged victims of the quake.”

More snow in Texas

Well, Houston did get a blanket of snow.  Only the fourth time ever, and they set a record for it being the earliest day of the year of a snowfall for them.  The weather swept south of Dallas but covered everything south and then moved east out of Texas to Louisiana and Mississippi.

We had biting cold but the sun was out and not too much wind so it was bearable if you had to be out.  Tonight as I was closing up the chickens and filling up the hay tubs for the alpacas I was glad there was not a breath of wind.  My face was plenty cold as it was and my gloved fingertips were almost numb when I got back inside the house.  We are supposed to get down into the 20’s tonight and only in the low 50’s during the next few days before our next round of cold and rain comes through. 

The alpacas and chickens are not fazed.  I drove up the drive to see all the chickens roaming the pastures for anything left alive they could make a meal of.  The alpacas, even the newest six-month-old, are warm enough.  Not enough pasture grass to suit them, but plenty of good hay  our neighbor provided.  I have not heard any coyotes at night;  they must be staying in and keeping warm.

Five management tips to use on the ranch

We all discover a little tool or helpful hint that makes our life a little easier each day. Here are 5 of my favorites so far:
1. an old tire around a 5 gal bucket I use to water the animals (keeps alpacas from kicking them over and chickens like to stand on tire and drink from the bucket too)
2. A little keychain penlight/alarm holds exterior building keys (the light is handy to light my way and check on the chickens after dark); bought at Dollar Tree for one dollar
3. plastic tubs also bought at Dollar tree for one dollar each; used as nesting boxes (husband built a frame with the cut out narrow enough that the box drops into and hangs by the lip surround; easy to take out and easy to clean)
4. A big thermometer bought at Dollar Tree for one dollar; hangs inside each chicken coop and the barn to keep an eye on hot or cold temps and monitor animal health
5. old unusable metal water troughs salvaged from our pastures; I keep all my feeds in these; mice cannot climb up and into and the feed stays organized and dry; they are not pretty (bent and dented) but that’s okay, they are in the barn storage area

Spring is springing

Spring is my favorite time of year. Who can resist the little daffodils?  They grab my attention.  But ususally I see flowering quince first.  I want to plant some of that.  At our other house I planted a row of Bardford Pear trees and I loved seeing them all in bloom.  I want to plant a row of those here too.  The David Austin roses are leafing out and soon I should have some pretty blooms, I hope, like last year.

the form is perfect

the form is perfect


The alpacas are out grazing almost all day; not much brome grass has sprung up yet but what is up they are really working to munch on.  I was out in the pasture yesterday filling in holes in the ground (rabbits,mice?) so they wouldn’t trip or worse, break a leg, and noticed the grass is coming in really nice. Tthey have not been chowing down on the hay as much.  I just restocked but I think maybe have overstocked a little. 

I worked on cleaning the chicken coops; they really aren’t terribly bad.  My first flock of chickens and they have been delightful.  I have 3 coops in separate pastures so they will spread out and eat bugs galore.  I have used the deep litter method, and sprinkling with Stall Dry to keep down any odor, absorb moisture, and lay down diotomaceous earth to help eliminate bugginess.  They are all healthy and active.

my pretty Partridge Silkie bantams

my pretty Partridge Silkie bantams

img_0013And I really like that here in north Texas spring arrives earlier than it does in Kansas.  We may have a late, errant cold snap around Easter but starting in February we can usually count on mild days sprinkled in with some colder ones.  The warm, windless days are the best and we take full advantage by getting out and doing as much as we can around the place.  Today I am off to get more chicken feed and then do some more “pasture maintenance” (alpaca’s poop pile cleanup).

Australian bushfires appeal

The Australian bush fires have claimed lives, towns and wildlife.  People are missing.  This is the worst bushfire in Australia’s history.  It is still burning.

 The Red Cross is appealing for money, not goods.  I have a site link to this Australian based company trying to raise money and you get 5 of their  PDF books for $29.95, regularly $149.95, and they will donate the ENTIRE $ 29.95 towards the Red Cross fund. The DEADLINE is  this FRIDAY, FEB. 13.   I have chosen my 5 PDF books and paid by Paypal.  You can also pay by credit card.In 24 hours they have exceeded their $50,000US goal and are on their way towards $100,000US.


Here is the link; see if you can help them.  If not, please consider donating to the Australian Red Cross. A link also below.



From The Australian Red Cross Website:

Red Cross response (2pm, 11 February)

  • Over 160 lives lost with the number expected to increase as authorities access more homes and discover vehicles in which people attempted to escape the fires.
  • Currently we are involved in the response phase providing temporary accommodation and food in around 20 evacuation centres. We have registered 7,500 people and provided 4,500 first aid treatments.  
  • We have a team at Kinglake with medical supplies and food — they are visiting a community who chose not to leave when the fires came through and who have not had any contact since. Priorities will be medical help, food and registering their names so family and friends know they are safe and well.
  • Another team are focusing on the Whittlesea evacuation centre as people are able to return to their homes for the first time. Our team will be offering personal support as this is going to be a very difficult time for those returning.
  • People from around Australia and around the world are phoning through to our Inquiry Centre to check on family and friends.  Volunteers who are trained in personal support are relaying heartwarming as well as heartbreaking, stories as the calls come in. In the past 24 hours alone we have answered 6,000 enquiries.
  • Over 400 volunteers and staff continue to work in rotating shifts. Red Cross call centres in WA, ACT and NSW have opened to help deal with the volume of calls from people checking on the welfare of evacuees.


Checking on friends and family in the area

  • people should ring 1800 727 077 if they are unable to contact someone in the affected areas
  • for people overseas enquiring about family and friends in the bushfire affected areas, please call +61 3 9328 3716 or
    +61 8 9225 8880

These lines are very busy, so we ask that people please be patient when calling.

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