Category: Life with Animals

The view from our front yard.  Lightened it  so the mailbox can be seen

                           The view from our front yard. Lightened it so the mailbox can be seen

This evening I sit on our farm’s podium stand which spans over the fence and allows me to step up and over the fence without catching on the barbwire. I sit down. It is immediately calming.  I take a deep sigh of contentment.

The heat of the day has cooled, twilight has begun, melding the reds, oranges, and blues into indigo quickly from the clouds covering the west sky from storms ensuing in Western Kansas. Tranquility takes the place of blustering of the wind to a  breeze to ruffle the hair, causing the prairie grass and windmill weeds to dance as I gaze over the pasture with our cattle grazing in the distance.

Fall breathes in the air.  It is in the heaviness of the pregnant momma cows soon to birth their babies. Some for the first time and others, seasoned veterans,  browsing for a last bite of grass before sleep.  A two-month-old calf makes a breakneck run with the coolness of the evening. The ripening fullness of the apples, pears, and the wooden props to hold the various arrays of flavor awaiting picking to be turned into jams, jellies, and lovely spiced apple pie filling.  Other non-edibles put out their “fruit” or seeds, the feathery foxtails, windmill grass, sticktight weeds which speckle the dogs’ fur as they rest on top of the hay bales watching and guarding the cattle in the field.

Annie and Oakley watching over the cattle in the field

Annie and Oakley watching over the cattle in the field


My mind is still running even though my body is relaxing.  An adult child moving to Hawaii, another far away in North Carolina.  Too far from me, because I still see them as my sweet babies.  Two in college in a close town, but not close enough to the farm.  A baby shower cake for next week, 8 bushels of apples to prepare this weekend,  instrument music night for the school,  a husband feeling ill, a children’ book dream, PRN (as needed) nursing night shifts when not working the orchestra.  All the things that can roll through your mind trying to shut out the calmness from the field.  I have to shut the mind down to enjoy the moment or it will distract me.

It is isolated out here away from my friends and family.  Too far for most people to come out and see me and I can’t just pick up and pop in within few minutes and run over to see them. No barn parties, no bonfires, no hayrack rides with people coming out to enjoy life here as we do.  Nine years has still produced an isolationism especially with all the children gone from the home.  So I take solace in the cattle, in the sweetness of the farm cats curling around my lap, wanting to be pet and coddled, and the company of the girls.  I am blessed, though I feel lonely tonight or at least seemingly alone in my perspective.  I know the Lord is sitting here beside me, using nature to comfort and remind me of His creation.  It does give me peace knowing this.

Today is the last day before this blog is to expire and there is much of a struggle too.  As much as I want to continue, I have been negligent to keep it up.  Life gets so busy I can’t sit down and take the time to think.  To bake and take pictures, post recipes that I would to, and share the farm life with you.  I don’t know what the blog will be or where it will be or if it is to be no more.  I guess we will see tomorrow.  But for right now, I share my photos of the beauty I have here.  I am still amazed that my phone camera does such a very good job of taking photos.  But you can’t improve on God’s handiwork, can you?

Evening on the dairy farm

                          Evening at Faye Farms Dairy


Wooden fence with grapes ready to be ripened

Wooden fence with grapes to be ripened

In love with blackberries

Love in the Blackberries




Seeking and searching for hidden treasures under the grape leaves

Seeking and searching for hidden treasures under  the grape leaves






Friend's fence and field where I am gleaning

                       Trumpet Vines and Grapes on a Friend’s fence and field where I am gleaning


Dogs.  You can love them, and they can drive you crazy.  You met the puppies briefly in the last blog post.  In December, the dogs were very bored.  They had been wanting to get the cats when the cats would sit on the hay bales to get away from the dogs herding them. The girls found a way to get up there.

One morning,  I got up, and low and behold, the dogs were on top of the hay bales.  They were on a roll of teasing each other and started chasing each other.  I was lucky they had just begun.  I tried not to laugh too much since I was videoing the whole thing.  Here is the link for you to watch the fiasco.

I hope you enjoyed the vignette of our silly girls.  You can see why we love them.  The black one, Oakely, is our ADHD sweetie.  Annie just loves to tease her sister but is more teachable than Oakley.  I should have named Oakley after the bouncy, trouncy Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.  She just bounces all the time when we are around.   Or any time for that matter.  But we have a Tygger in our group already.  They are named after the famous folk sharpshooter Annie Oakely.

The girls were bought from Oklahoma and sadly enough had not had a human touch until they were six weeks old.  They were born in February 2015. We bought them at eight weeks old. It was a litter of 8.  Momma was a border collie and daddy was collie and blue heeler mix.  They were also the smaller of all of the puppies.  The males were twice the size of the girls. The only other female was cowering in the corner, so she was out.  BUT, we fell in love with them.  The first few nights I had them sleep with me in the recliner chair since they were so human love starved and in some way food starved.  So I became the alpha, as the Jurassic World, Chris Pratt, had said.  They love me and obey me, but are having to learn to help the man with the cattle in the future.  But a half trained puppy is a barbarian puppy…..  They are not allowed inside often just due to the fact they are going to be herders.  If I had my way, they would sleep with us in the bed!  Except WE probably wouldn’t get any sleep, we would be dead from being licked to death and bounced on. (I really should call my husband The Conductor, since that is what he was with the BNSF.  The farmer, or the man, doesn’t quite sound right…. even though he is a rancher now and I call myself a ranchette wife with the small amount of 240 acres we do have)

There will be more of the puppies and their antics and hopefully their training to be cattle dogs.  But first we have to have them spade to help their alpha aggressiveness diminish, especially to one another. They should not have been from the same litter and not both alpha females according to the animal behavioral trainer.  This has caused some behavioral issues toward one another.  I was hoping for one female to allow to have for breeding, but there are other dogs in the area, especially a Great White Pyrenees and we could not chance him breeding her since he is not penned up and they are not near two years old for safety and health sake.






The Holiday season is over, and the house is now quiet.  My hubby and I are watching the football games.  Well, he is, and I am at the computer.

Much has passed since the last posting and I have been remiss on keeping up to date.  Learning the violin is much tougher than I thought and I will always be a die-hard French horn player.  But working at a middle school/high school orchestra assistant.  It has been so enjoyable to be around young students and a challenge to be in a new field.

But most of you are looking for recipes and the farm.  We have been busy at the farm and all summer with new kittens, new puppies, and new calves.  Both of our cats had kittens, and it looked like the kitten fairy switched babies with mommas.   We have new puppies.  Annie and Oakley, who are 3/4 border collie and 1/4 blue heeler.  We have one that is ADHDHDHD!  She is a dolly, even though she wears us out with all the energy.


New Kittens….  Four tiger kitties from the calico, Callie, and four from Oreo  (3 calico and one black)  It was so sweet, but then the mommas were fixed so that there would not be anymore. I don’t mind cats on the farm, but the farmer man doesn’t want but a few, and we don’t want to be irresponsible our animals just breeding constantly.  Our big Tiger male, Tygger, tolerated them all.




Oreo’s kittens.  Teddy bear and the three callies




Come play with me!


We were able to give away all of them but one, and he went by the name of Henry….trust me he chose the name.  I said every name I could think of and then said Henry and three times he turned to look at me hearing the name and the name stuck.  Annie and Oakley are very good at taking watch on the kittens, and they were the guard dogs, and they wanted to play with them so badly.  But sadly we lost Henry to an owl coming in from the timber and I cried for days.  Henry was so loved by Tygger.  He mourned for days and followed my husband for days.

The next post will be on the new baby calves born late fall.  There is good news and bad news.  But life and death are something that occurs on the farm and still this nurse has a hard time dealing it.

God gave us the circle of life to appreciate life and death.  Whether it is the blessing of the birth of a baby, an animal or death of a loved one or one whose life ended too soon.  He knows the days of our life, and the number of steps we will take.  Living on a farm hits it more with the cycle of life and death here.






New calves

What is this new little thing in the Field?

What is this new little thing in the Field?

New calves.  They are so sweet, and even sweeter when it is warm when they are born.  In the last few years we have been regular in having our calves in the fall.  Twin bulls in September, which is unusual.   And they were so cute!  It is always interesting to see what they look like especially if  both parents are black Angus and we have a red Angus heifer born.  She is mine, and her name is Ginger. (She is my reward for taking care of the cattle during my husband’s knee replacement.  But personally I know it is because she is red, not black.  It doesn’t fit with his black scheme of things) This is where my college science regarding recessive genes come in.  Horns or no horns?  Hold it, your parents didn’t have horns, how come you are growing buds?  Sigh…….

Bossy checking baby out to see if all is there

Bossy checking baby out to see if all is there

We have a caramel coloured bull, oops, now steer. This occurs very quickly to keep from having to do it when older, which is not so lovely, and trust me, my husband’s first time done, with a multi-use sharpened Swiss Army knife gave me the willies as a nurse.  “Are you sure I can’t run home and get the surgical knife, it would be a lot easier.”  Nope.  Poor steer couldn’t walk straight for many a day.  Learned the lesson to get them while they are young.  He is doing well now.  He is the one who JD couldn’t dehorn and do so much psychological damage in one day to the poor baby.  His twin brother was spared the trauma by being sold before he was neutered and dehorned. Our new little bull’s mother is a Dairy mixture and his father was an Angus.His name is Spunky because within 10 minutes he was trying to get up and do a lil kick in the process.  He still turned out just as cute as a bug in a rug.  His sister is the white face in the photo above, but everyone has to be in the picture after the new one has arrived.

Our newbies are so sweet, but not in 27 degree weather.  Our momma, A/C (awesome cow) was preparing for her second calf, her first for us was D/C (darn cute) although she is a pro at having babies.  Yes, A/C D/C which was so conveniently decided by a contest on my facebook.  My friend Michelle decided the names after remembering the band had a band member named Angus.  This all should be conglomeration and coagulating as to why the names. Wind, cold and no sun shining makes for a cold and possible dangerous delivery.  Even with her cleaning, it was cold for a newborn.  I watched her for 2 hours while she labored and finally brought forth a beautiful dark calf.  Unknown sex but with a field cow you don’t just walk up and say, “can I peek at your baby’s bum?”

New bull and family all together here

New bull and family all together here

The challenge as with any calf, is to get to the calf, if need be in a dire circumstances, without getting ran over by a hormone challenged momma cow.  If you have their calf, they will not hurt you.  But when you put the calf down or let go of the baby, all is fair game.  Needless to say, I was charged at after JD put our new baby down in the hay. HEY, I didn’t pick up your baby and drag him here! You might have a little more gratefulness since it was my idea to put your baby here so he wouldn’t freeze, thank you very much.  But like most mommas, and she is no exception, they are very protective of her baby.  After a “feel” my husband determined that it was a “he” and at this rate, I hope we don’t use the same Rent-a-Bull we did before.  He has only given us males so far.  If the next two are males,  we may not want to use him if we would like to have a few more females in the herd.    But he is too cute even at this stage of the  game.  So begins the name game.

Warming up nicely

Warming up nicely

Hey, I am in the hay, not the hay to be eaten

Hey, I am in the hay, not the ha.y to be eaten

But in this weather, this woman has to be smarter than the elements.  The water barrel was frozen and I went to break the ice when one of the cows, Angelina, kept staring at me through the fence as if to say, “what are you going to do with this water here?” I was busy on birth watch.  I picked up the pitchfork and using the end of the pitchfork (not the pointy end) to break the ice in the water trough.  Very foolishly while I adjusted the pitchfork to lean farther, I felt a sharp prick to my face and very quickly felt what I thought was a salty tear, because I was mad at the ice not breaking, thus breaking into tears.  But sad to say the taste was a salty iron not just salt and gingerly touching my face and seeing blood, I grabbed a kleenex and headed back to the car. Examining myself in the mirror of the car, I found the pitchfork and I had a disagreement on its usage and I lost.  I had three marks on the face, one just missing my right eye.  Not smart.  Glad I have had my tetanus shot.  So much for helping the cattle, esp in heels and Sunday dress. Before you say anything, I didn’t want to miss this birth since I was always late on the others, plus I was in the car with the heater on, a blanket and my Texas ranger leather coat.

God watches over fools and children. Praise the Lord He was watching over me today.  My face hurts like crazy but I didn’t lose my eyesight, and He gave me the sight and delight of seeing new life come into this world.  It is lovely.  Ecclesiastes 3:11  He makes all things beautiful in its time.

Anywhere to be to keep cool and yet watch me in the garage

Cats, they aren’t your pets, we are their servants! Most people love animals and we have one busy cat named Tygger.  We have had Tygger for a little over a year and a half now.  His mother, a stray, came to us on a rainy night in 2012 after we arrived back from Emporia, in which our daughter, a head cheerleader, and my son who played in the band,  were supporting our Udall Basketball team for state.

Snickers was a beautiful kitty cat, a calico, and I am partial toward them in the first place.  We kept her for the night in the garage, fed her and she wanted Abaigael to be her owner.  Abby named her Snickers. She had all the colors of the candy bar in her coat being a calico . This thrilled Abby.  She was around for one week and off she left and was gone for another week before she returned.  But she returned we realized she was already pregnant.


Watching her closely, we had a feral male cat in the area killing and maiming cats and we did not want this for Snickers.  But you can set up the best laid birthing area, but the cat chooses and this cat chose the big, deep vacuum box in the garage.  She gave birth to one large male, and one was not viable. She loved him and protected him. 530302_3468529784788_245251981_n Unfortunately Tygger became an orphan at 2 weeks old and thus began his journey raised by humans.  Noah, my son, named him Tygger, but it is not Tiger but the short “i”like the Winnie the Pooh Tigger.  But he is precious!  Here is a video of him when he was only 4 weeks old! This is a MUST to see! ( hope this works, if not you can copy and paste or hit Beth Hite and look for Tygger and the Fence on YouTube)

   He has been been a cat who gives us AUUUGGHHS, freaks us out with chasing us (the male hormones were raging until we had him neutered!), and stares balefully at you if you do not warm up his milk in the bowl which he knows is his treat from his “mommy” in the morning when he comes in and in the evening before he goes out to the garage . He has his special home with a heating pad in a cat house in the garage, and yet he comes in for his routines! JD revved him up with his shenanigans and then Tygger proceeds to attack me to release his energy since I am the closest sitting duck after his playtime.  You feel the jump, brief pop of puncture of skin on the back of your calf and then beats it for the high hills as he knows I am going to holler at his vampirism actions.  Then out he promptly goes outside!  Tygger follows JD around the whole farm land like a dog.  He thinks he is a human.  And thus he will not accept any new kittens, which I wanted these two….this next video proves that.  Tygger and the new kittens: Don’t think so!   Listen to him “talk” to the kittens and decide what he is saying to them.

Tygger lately has turned into a killing machine with the rabbits, mice, rats, pack rats and unfortunately some of my sweet baby birds around.  I don’t mind him until he brings the animal and lays it at the feet of the door in the garage.  It wouldn’t be so bad if they were dead, but this rabbit was still alive.  EEEK!  So I picked it up and put it in the woodpile, giving it a bedding, hoping it could recover or I didn’t have to see it expire on my watch! When I went out a few days later it was gone and so I had a sigh of relief thinking I had rescued one from Tygger.  Boy was I wrong!  Unknown to me, until the day of pruning roses for winter sleep when Ethan and I ran across a tail and fur of a rabbit.  I trotted out to the woodpile, and sure enough, with all the stuff I had put in front of the rabbit, Tygger still got that waskully wabbit!

Enjoy some of the pictures and a video, if I can get them posted of our lil Tygger, who is not lil anymore!

Too sleepy to eat!

Tygger on the floor

Tygger’s First Birthday


I will sleep in any position!

I will sleep where I want!




I will stare at you until you let me in!

I will stare at you until you let me in!


Hello Hummingbirds

Isn't he beautiful?

Isn’t he beautiful

Our sweet hummingbird female

Our sweet hummingbird female










This past week after being in Orlando, Florida, the weather has not been kind to our hummingbirds.   With all their tropical flowers, the hummingbirds were frequent in Florida.  I have not been kind to our hummingbirds.  Joyfully getting out the feeders in preparation this spring, I neglected to zippy lock up the white tips to one of the feeders.  Thinking they were intelligent and find the sweet life giving nectar, I left the little white tips off.  The first solid rainstorm we had this spring/summer, which in addition, the cold gave me my first crying spell over my darling hummingbirds.  I found my black capped hummingbird drowned with his bill in the feeder during the rainstorm.  Ran out and thought maybe he had just done this and I could CPR him or something.  (My thought since I am a nurse).  But he was cold and I jerked that feeder down with several hummingbirds following me back to the house.  In fact one sat on the rod iron and stared at me through the window until I had a new one out.

Staring is going to get me fed faster!

Staring is going to get me fed faster!

To slightly back track, the past four years we have been building a large group of hummingbirds.  We went from one female, who was determined to get nectar from JD’s red sweaty t-shirt.  Blech!  Poor girl.  He would just stand there and let the ol’ gal poke at his chest.  So I, in great joy, went out and bought feeders.  Thank heavens I didn’t have to buy nectar.  It can be made so easily by scratch.  And a heads up, please do not use anything but  white sugar and do not add red food coloring.  It will kill the little darlings.  My mother made me laugh this year when she said, “How do you know they can’t use raw sugar?” ” Uh, Mom, I said, they use the liquid stuff, nectar, from the flowers……”  Wait for it, wait for it…..  The Jeopardy song is running in my head.  Pressing my lips together in order not to laugh, I stared and then we and laughed hysterically about her flub.  But seriously, the natural raw sugar has iron and hummingbirds cannot rid the iron and die of iron overdose.

Caught in MidAir


Where'd He go?

Where’d He go?


Chiding the Yellow Jacket

Chiding the Yellow Jacket


Here is one of the best sites I have found if you are interested in hummingbirds I can say I have found so much joy in these birds.  We went from one female and she had 1 male and 1 female.  They all came back, had nests and we were up to 12 last year with buzzing, aerial fighting and squeaks all over the place.  This year only 4 with the cold and several strong storms taking out their nests.  I wondered if several were killed with the 80 mph winds from two storms this summer.


New baby hummingbird

New baby hummingbird

But today I saw a female and a male hummingbird.  Ruby throat, but no black caps.  I hope the ones in Wichita did better than mine this year.

Brother and Sister feeding together

Brother and Sister feeding together

I have included some of my favorite photos of my hummingbirds.  Please don’t reuse them unless you get my permission.


Colorful male ruby throated hummingbird

Colorful male ruby throated hummingbird


We have a new addition to the cattle family.  We have a range of 12-16 cattle at a time.  My husband, JD was at the cattle auction on Wed, July 17th and bought a new momma cow with a calf, heifer, that appears to be about one week old. This momma cow was too young to be bred.  For those who don’t know, heifers should be about two years old before they have their first calf.  She is about 18 months old, so she wasn’t very old, and it can be more difficult for them.   I haven’t really seen her, and plan to go out to see her today, if at all possible.  My cattle came running, even though they haven’t been around me in a week and a half.  But I went out and called, and knowing I have cow treats, or actually horse treats, they come “a runnin'”.  I didn’t know I could find such pleasure in the cattle and with my one heifer, D/C, whose mother is A/C.  Not after the band A/C D/C, , mind you, but a friend named them from this since they are angus cattle.   A/C:  Awesome cow, and D/C:  darn cute calf.  D/C is going to be a momma for the first time, and she still comes up to me to have her head scratched and gently rubbed under her chin and behind her ears. The only problem is when I stop, she bumps me and she has too much weight for me not to press back and hold.  Having her more domesticated is another story, but just watching them calms me.  I can’t wait until I meet this new momma cow and her baby.  Now, to come up with a name….

The photo is of D/C and my husband, having a scratch session.  I have spoiled her rotten.

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