Saturday, January 22, 2011

So You Want to Learn to Ride?

Jenny Rousey-Dick
Learning to ride a horse is easy ....... as long as you have a lifetime to learn. The Henry's walked into the Sindorf Equestrian Center door about 4 years ago to get a couple of riding lessons for daughter, Phoebe. A couple of lessons were all that were needed since Phoebe, 9 at the time, had been on a horse since she was 2 years old. Well, that was a mistake....not going to Sindorf but thinking she just needed a couple of lessons. 
Jenny Rousey-Dick is Phoebe's Trainer and delivers instruction to her students as a master teacher would captivate you in your favorite class. Jenny is tough but soft when needed. She is demanding but yielding as necessary.  
Jenny is teaching while Fame is sticking his tongue out.
Phoebe continues her 
dedication to riding and her twice weekly sessions with Jenny. This is another excellent example of the idea that "good things happen to good people". Jenny happened to the Henry Family.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Care for Chickens in the Dead of Winter

Taking care of chickens in Palmer, Alaska 
is no easy feat. In just the past 12  days our daytime low temperatures have fluctuated from a low of -18 degrees to a warm....tropical zero today. Last week we had winds in the 60mph range and the wind chill factor put us at -29 degrees. You have to have really strong structures that are able to resist high winds and to protect animals from the wind chill. I had one of my best hens escape from the pen, just like in the movie "Chicken Run". She didn't last long. She froze in the standing position. We decided to just leave her and use her as a winter yard decoration until the Spring thaw. You have to heat everything here. Our chicken barn is heated with infra-red lights. and all of the water containers must have individual heaters.
Red Fence Farm hand, Keoni Quilinderino, can tell you that chores, especially water chores on the farm, have to be completed quickly or you'll have a big frozen mess on your hands. Keoni, in each of the photos, reminded me that one of the best things to do for your chickens during the long, dark, cold winters in Alaska is to hug your chicken everyday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grow Your Own in Small Spaces

Goat milkers, shoemakers, fashion models, computer geeks, politicians, lawyers, teachers, chefs … all city dwellers … all can grow food at home after work in back yards, community gardens or on flat roofs. For the past 33 years, City Farmer has encouraged urban dwellers to pull up a patch of lawn and plant some vegetables, kitchen herbs and fruit. City Farmer teaches people how to grow food in the city, compost their waste and take care of their home landscape in an environmentally responsible way.
The City Farmer website is a collection of stories about all of the work at City Farmer in Vancouver, Canada, and about urban farmers from around the world (even Palmer, Alaska). The site is maintained by City Farmer executive director, Michael Levenston.
City Farmer awarded “Garden Communicator of the Year” by BC Landscape and Nursery Trades Association. Liam Robinson (right) of Watermark Gardens presents the award to Michael Levenston (left) of City Farmer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Free Goats

Amazing But True
These goats are free....they run free. Some of the world's most beautiful animals live on Aruba and the goats run wild. These goats enjoy the great life and don't have to wait to be fed or watered or have their hooves trimmed. They roam this sixty-seven square mile island. 

I researched this place and the wild goats but did not really believe all I read or heard so I sent one of the "Henry Milker" researchers to check it out personally. Regina unselfishly gave up her entire Christmas vacation to travel to this far-away land and document the existence of these free-roaming goats.
Check out the white tip tail

Grazing in the ocean breeze

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crazy Goat Lady

You've Got a Friend In Me!
This is my last word for 2010

Is it possible to be friends with someone you have not met personally? Can you start a friendship without actually shaking someone's hand? Well, I say yes you can and I am telling you that I have. For almost a year now, I have been reading stories, comments and posts written by Christine Maentz the "Crazy Goat Lady".  She is the modern day Saint to animals, and I do mean all animals. I have exchanged emails with Christine about goats, chickens, miniature donkeys and ducks. You have to love a lady like that!

There are many reasons why she has been dubbed the "Crazy Goat Lady". One instance; when she first started raising goats, she set up a little farm and small house and drove a 1998 Silver Jaguar.  Christine would pull up at the feed store and have them load the back seat and trunk with feed and hay....the feed store workers thought she had lost her mind!  They even refused the first time - she had to argue with them that it was okay. She said, "that's what vacuum cleaners are for and it's only a car." Christine places the welfare of animals above all, even her own personal time. She answers emails and phone calls from animal owners who need advice all over the United States (including me in Alaska) . Christine's neighbors always knew that there was something a little different about her, they just could not really put their finger on it until the day she backed her trailer in and unloaded Boris; Boris the camel. Folks drove by and looked. They stopped and turned around to look again. Sure enough, it's a camel and the lady must be crazy. Crazy or not, the "Crazy Goat Lady" has a friend in me