Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt—While

While, such an interesting word, is a noun that means a period of time.

It has been a word for myself for many years i.e.:

What can be done while I am waiting for this appointment?

What can I do while the children are napping?

How can I occupy myself on this long trip while being a traveling passenger?

Is there something that could be done while I wait fifteen minutes before needing to leave for work?

Time has always been important to me. It passes quickly with moments never to be had again. So, I hope this has been a thoughtful post for you while you spent these five minutes with me.

Good day!

How Can You do That?

“How can you do that?” I am frequently asked this question when people hear our chickens are free-range.

“It does pose a risk,” I concede, “but the benefits outweigh the risks.”

How can that be? How can free-range chickens ever survive? There are several factors that work in their favor out here at our place. We have dogs that keep wildlife at bay. We also walk all over the farm, thus leaving our human scent as well. The horses play a big part too in keeping critters away. Though they can injure and even kill chickens as I wrote in a previous post, Faster than You Think—Ask the Chickens. It does not happen often. A healthy horse will defend his domain if feel threatened, or a ‘stranger’ shows up on their turf.

Free-range chickens are a benefit to everyone. They eat bugs which makes us all happy. I leave horse manure several days in the paddock to ‘cure’ a bit. Chickens peck through it eating the worms, thereby breaking the parasite cycle for the horses. Bonus! They also are my first composers. Manure has been beautifully broken down by their work.

Their hen house is in a stall in the barn. This also offers extra protection for them, and a plus for us as eggs are laid either in their house or feed buckets. Rarely is there need to have a daily egg hunt.

While this works here, it may not work at your place. Which does not really matter. I have seen beautiful hen houses and enclosures to keep them safe, all full of a bunch of happy hens!

So please do not feel bad if your chickens cannot be free-range. I am just answering the question of how it works for us.

No matter how chickens are kept, would you agree that they are fun and #chickensmakeuschuckle ?

Happy chicken farming!

Our dogs help protect the farm.
Horses help protect chickens.
They eat worms in the manure that helps break parasite cycle for horses.
They are our first composters!
They eat bugs!
No matter where you keep your chickens, they are fun! #chickensmakeuschuckle

What Dogs Know about Horses

Watching our animals interact with one another is a life lesson in and of itself.

They communicate with each other, and they seem to understand. I have noticed they do need a bit of ‘training’ to learn each other’s language, but they learn quickly!

It has been a while since we have had a puppy here on the farm with us. We got our Pembroke Corgi puppy, HoneyPie, one-and-a-half years ago at eight weeks old. I kept a close eye on her for the first year. She needed to learn about horses and cats from a safe distance. It only takes one determined strike from a horses front leg to break a dogs back. And goodness, the damage a mature cat could give a silly, playful puppy! She also had to learn not to chase the chickens.

She is now nineteen months old. She knows her way around the farm, cats, horses and chickens. Though she takes great joy in giving the chickens a good, quick run! I am teaching her to herd them also.

Our one miniature horse, Clarette, has made it her mission to keep HoneyPie out of the paddock, and fields. The photos below show interesting ‘talk’ between horse and dog. It’s fascinating to watch! Can you ‘read’ their language?

Everyone aware of everyone here. No big deal.
Clarette is not bothered by HoneyPie here either–for now.
But see this ‘language’ here? Clarette has turned towards HoneyPie, who is not quiet sure about it all just yet.
Clarette has turned with more intention towards HoneyPie, who is now on the alert.
Now she means business, and HoneyPie is backing off from her advance.
Clarette now means business! The funny part is that she backs off as soon as she gets HoneyPie to skedaddle away! Then they do it all over again.

In reality Clarette is only bluffing. She just enjoys her power over HoneyPie! Such is life here at the farm.

Faster than You May Think—Ask the Chickens

Do you think you could get out of the way of a bolting horse?

If you said ‘yes’, you would be wise to rethink it through. The first thing to know is that horses are preyed on animals. Were you aware of this fact? It is one of the most important things to ever remember about horses if you are to work around them. It could mean the difference between being seriously hurt by one or being horse smart. A wise man told me once, “A horse can kill you if he wants. He can kill you if he doesn’t want.”

Another way is by his being ‘jacked up’. This means he is excited beyond good thinking. Often it is cooler weather with the wind blowing all around that has him feeling extra full of himself. Unfortunately it may be the result of too much feed and not enough exercise. This results in what is called a ‘hot horse’—full of rich feed and not enough exercise to burn it. Either way, they are dangerous and need a horse-smart experienced handler.

One of the ways he can kill if he doesn’t want is by bolting. A bolting horse is a scared horse, and he is getting ‘out of Dodge’, so to speak, as fast as he can. For all he knows his very life is at stake, and in his mind that is all that matters. If there is something or someone in the way, too bad. They can bolt faster than most people think. I have read up to 45 mph.

So what do chickens have to do with it? Well, our chickens are free-range. As a result they hang with the horses a lot. The horses stir up bugs as they walk and graze.

Chickens are no dummies. How can they be when they are on nearly everyone’s lunch menu? They have keen eyesight. Yet, a bolting or excited horse is faster than the chicken.

How do we know? Three of our free-range chickens have been injured by our bolting horses. Two of those three died.

This comes with the territory, but is hard just the same. It is also an excellent reminder to us to be ever mindful of what is going on around our horses. Our farm motto:

Safety First. Beauty Second.

Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt—Road

God in His wisdom does not allow us to know where the road in life will take us. That seems gracious as well. For often I have wondered who would take the roads we are on if we knew beforehand. Yet, at the same time, we do have many choices of which roads we take in life. There again is Gods grace, as He gives us ability to choose.

I have prayed ever since my children were little that they would choose the good road of Gods plan. Even those roads do not guarantee a smooth ride. Yet God promises He is always there for those that call on Him.

Our old neighbor had a wise saying: “The road ain’t so long that it don’t have a bend in it somewhere.”

Good advice to carry along our road of life.