Friday, May 7, 2010

FAQ Friday, episode 2

Welcome to the second episode of FAQ Friday, where I'll answer the questions you've posed this week and tie up a few loose ends.

Early in the week, I was fretting about whether all the new plants sprouting across the ranch might be locoweed. Erring on the side of caution, I elected to build a new fence to isolate the boys from the prodigious patches of possible poison in the pasture. A few of you picked up on my fractured Scarlett O'Hara quote and guessed correctly that I was listening to "Gone With the Wind" while I was fencing.

Oh fiddle dee dee, indeed, because my worst fears have been confirmed. I'll spare you all the sordid details of my angst, but here is quick summary of the current situation:
1. All the questionable sprouts are locoweed.
2. Sprouts I hadn't questioned are poisonous as well. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems...sometimes it's worse.
3. The heretofore unquestioned sprouts were growing in the boys' newly fenced pasture. Meet our latest enemy:

Appropriate name, don't you think? This stuff is known to cause cyanide poisoning in cattle and sheep. Absent definitive information about its effect on horses and burros, I pulled every stinkin' sprout from the five acres where the boys are temporarily living.
4. My new best friend is a PhD and rangeland weed specialist in Artesia, New Mexico (I call him Dr. Weed).
5. My other new best friend is licensed to apply the controlled substance which will eradicate all this lovely greenery from the 7MSN (I call him Bubba).
6. Said spraying will commence as soon as the multi-gallons of herbicide are FedExed to Bubba.
7. Hank, George and Alan will have to get used to their temporary mini-pasture - it may be July before I am able to turn them out again.

From C in Wi:
Q. Would Roundup kill the devil plants, or are there just too many of them?
A. No. Yes.

On to happier topics. So how about those chickens?

From Lynette:
Q. As soon as I saw "girls" in the title, I said YAY - the chickens! Happy foraging to them. You can tell them apart?
A. No.

Clara, Lorena and Peach look eggsactly alike. I'm determined to devise a method to identify them until such time that I can pick them out in a crowd by their personalities – perhaps differently colored nail polish, perhaps ID badges hung around their necks. Time will tell.

From Morning Bray Farm:
Q. Looks like the three of them tended to stick together. Did they?
A. You know how Fergus and Nigel or George and Alan or Bernard and Ellsworth are never more than an inch apart? It's like that.

From Sandra and Fantastyk Voyager and This DVM's Wife's Life:
Q. What about Deets and snakes and birds?
Q. How does Deets like them?
Q. But what about Deets? What will he think of them?
A. For now, Deets has absolutely no interest in the chickens, which baffles me. He doesn't step paw into the chicken yard. Experienced chicken-raisers have led me to believe that full-grown chickens and barn cats can peacefully co-exist. Until then, close supervision is our mantra. The chicken yard (formerly known as my garden) is adjacent to the house, so I'm hopeful that predatory birds and other varmints won't want to get too close to civilization and my girls.

Regarding the Prank in the Pasture...

From JaneK:
Q. Were you just completely cracking up as this whole thing unfolded....or were you a little nervous hoping that it didn't end with needing a call to the vet?
A. I could barely take those pictures because I was laughing so hard and smiling so big. As rambunctious as George and Alan can get, I never worry about them hurting each other. That's just not something they do. Amen.

And a final question to close out the week...

From Gazelle:
Q. Just wondering was there a post I missed that explained how the 7MSN was named ? I'm sure there's a story behind that name too.
A. Wayyyy back in the olden days of this blog, I wrote about the fairy tale that is my life. The answer to your question is at the end of Part 4.

That was fun. Thanks for your questions and all your comments this week. We'll be back next Friday with more answers, more explanations, and continuing updates to the locoweed saga. But I can't think about that right now. I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.


  1. I can't believe the problems with your loco weed, and being as I don't remember it being mentioned much before, what caused it to suddenly take over 7MSN? We had an extremely cold/snowy winter here and everyone was saying "less bugs, few weeds", NOT ... this year is the worse for everything and it's maddening!!! Maybe you were as lucky as us?

    It's fun reading your FAQ's.

  2. Well, that sucks! At least you know now, and can take some action. I bet the boys will go stir crazy being cooped up until July. Maybe extra bags of carrots (and more cones and toys) will help with their confinement?

    Good luck with the purging.

  3. Love these posts! Okay, try to control yourself with the egg jokes please. I can't take it anymore. ;)

  4. Can you put a different colored band around each girl's leg? Kind of like how naturalists band eagle's legs with identification, if that makes sense.

  5. I'm digging the Friday FAQ blogs! Good luck getting rid of the locoweed. My own personal battle right now is w/dandelions. Not harmful but really aggravating... Did you check out my FB page? I posted a few pic's of some plants that survived the winter. Happy Mother's day to you and your herd!

  6. Throwing in a question: Did the upside down tomato planter make tomatoes -- were you satisfied with it? I want tomatoes, but the baddogs do not (apparently). So, I was contemplating the "above their heads approach".

  7. About leg bands. I have heard of chickens pecking things like that and so much that they actually hurt the banded chicken. They just can't leave them alone. So be careful.

  8. Holy Cow!!!!! After lurking all this time, I finally read your whole story
    All I can say is "WOW!!!!

    I survived 40 some years in and around the corporate world. SO glad to be retired.

    And you are living the dream that I didn't have the courage to find. Thanks for letting us be a part of it.


  9. Wow, that's a real drag having to worry about and deal with all those nasty weeds. July is a long way off. You may have to teach them a dance number or something, so they don't go stir crazy.

    I think nail polish is the way to go with the Girls. They look like they'd like a day at the spa.

    Hugs for everyone!

  10. Love the new FAQ...your blog entertains me everyday! Your life seems so full and fun. You pictures and comments are wonderful. I just wish there were more everyday...I always want to see longer posts with more pics off all your adorable animals!

  11. I just found you a few days ago too.... via two other donkey/burro blogs...

    I must be a slower reader than Gramps.... but, I'm thoroughly enjoying myself.... and have to say...I love your photos.... you've got some great shots.

    'Specially love Deets upside down trying to hang on for dear life.. on the metal rail covered with snow.... hahahha.... very funny.....

    like Arnie....I'll be back.... after some vacuuming, laundry and a workout..... thanks for some great entertainment...

  12. seriously??? that's the real name? suckleya suckleyana? that would be funny if it weren't so dangerous for your animals.
    Glad you know your animals well enough to get a really good laugh and no worry.
    I'm sorry about all your weed drama. I'm at least glad there are some answers. How did the folks in the Old West days keep animals alive?! Oh well...guess we can think about that tomorrow!

  13. I wonder if the loco weed gets its name at least partially from driving horse owners crazy...

    Glad you are going with spraying. I can't imagine another year of plucking plant by plant...