A Suburban Farm of 6th Happiness.

Its a New Year! We have new ….

by Alan - February 2nd, 2019

Its a new year and we have a new Facebook page!  Please give us a “Like” as it will be the easiest way to stay the most up to date on whats going on!


For example, you may have read about our wonderful Polish Tatra Sheepdogs that help watch over our poultry and sheep, as well as are trained Disability Service Dogs.   After trying the ‘natural’ way and not getting anywhere, we finally gave in and went to a reproductive vet specialist as we were worried about the dogs becoming too old to breed if we waited any longer.   We almost did wait too long, as the specialist vet said he didn’t think our male was able to produce enough sperm to make even transcervical insemination successful….I decided to try anyway- after all we had done to get to this point- and what do you know- there were four pups that implanted, 3 boys and a girl.

Sadly, the first baby, a boy, lodged sidewise, sort of folded in half (as the vet who did the emergancy c-section described it), and died of lack of oxygen.  The other three are healthy and growing quickly.We are so proud and happy of our first litter and hope to have more (planned earlier so we aren’t racing against the clock).

We’ll have many photo updates on Facebook and will get up an application and sales contract sample up soon.   Pups will be ready once we are able to evaluate them well enough to feel we can tell which would be good LGD prospets verses which would be good SD prospects.

Puppies born by c-section on 9 Jan 2019 (conceived 11 Nov 2018).  Above photo taken the morning after, on the 10th.

They grow so fast….Photo below shows the pups at 3 weeks old. 



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What is a Cast Sheep & How to Help it

by Alan - July 31st, 2018



Sheep can be surprisingly agile, especially lambs, so it can come as a surprise to those new to the species that they have a bit in common with turtles.  SHeep do not naturally rest or roll on their backs, and if they end up in this position, they can become stuck.  We lost ourbeloved first ram this way.  We had had a rainy season and uneaven ground, causing him to slip.   Between having a broad back and a wet (thus heavy) fleece due to the rains, his little legs simply could not provide the leverage to right himself.  Pregnant ewes and overweight sheep are likewise in greater danger of becoming cast, although any sheep can be, if the circumstances so conspire.

A cast sheep faces two deadly threats.  First, it is easy prey, not only for the usual coyotes and wolves, but even crows, racoons and badgers.  Second, is the sheep’s biology.   Like cows, they have a four chamberedstomach.  The largest (the rumen) ferments fibrous foods which produces gas, but when the sheep is upside down, the gas can’t escape and instead builds up, putting pressure on the lungs, slowly suffocating them.

To right a cast sheep, give it a good push into an upward position.  As soon as the sheep sees you, or you start to help, it will likely start flailing its legs to try to get back up too (unless it is already very far gone and weak).  If necissary, grab onto the wool and pull it onto its legs.  Whatever you need to do.  Don’t worry about bruising it, or hurting it by pulling wool, these are things it will quickly recover from, whereas death is of course perminant.

Once the sheep is up, watch how it moves- does it quickly run back to its flock mates, or does it stagger and lurch ahead.   Remember that the longer it was on its back, the longer it may have had lower oxygen levels which can affect a number of bodily systems.  If it was in the sun on a hot day, it may also be suffering dehydration.  The sheep should recover in a short while, but if it does not immediately run to its flockmates, keep an eye on it for a while to be sure that it does not fall down again due to weakness.  Weakness should resolve once the oxygen levels in the sheep’s blood have returned to normal, and if it is a hot day, a bucket of water (fresh, not cold as that can cause shock) will likely be appreciated.  If he sheep does not appear to be getting better, even if slowly, or even seems to get worse, it is time to call the vet.  But this would be highly unlikely.  Almost all cases of cast sheep are quickly resolved by simply helping them get back on their feet- er- hooves.

Here is a video demonstrating the simple proceedure:

tags: cast   cast sheep   sheep   sheep health  

Chick development in the egg

by Alan - November 2nd, 2017

I have just posted some public domain images of chick development in the egg, and upon hatching, which can be found on this page: http://fithfath.com/farm/public-domain-images/public-domain-photos-chick-development-in-the-egg/

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Useful Links on Feather Crafting

by Alan - October 20th, 2017

Here are some links I stumbled on that are useful for crafting with feathers:


tags: chickens   crafts   feathers   poultry   quills   Turkeys  

Update on Computer repairs, Thank yous, and life….

by Alan - May 15th, 2017

Thank you to everyone who has helped us get my laptop touch screen and wacom pen fixed after they were damaged during a 911 emergancy call (see previous post here: http://fithfath.com/farm/2017/05/08/need-help-with-laptop-damaged-during-medical-emergancy/ )

I know some of those who have helped are cautious about their real names, which are often attached to the paypal accounts, being shared publically, and I forgot to ask how/if people wanted to be thanked since I am not using something like GoFundMe (why is also explained in previous post/link) which automatically does that.  So I’ve just given initials, and if you’d like me to expand to the full name and/or change it to a different name you use online, just let me know.  I also want to be sure I get everyone thanked, as I’m still pretty sick and low on spoons and don’t wan’t to risk making mistakes and forgetting anyone…so!

Thank you kindly to:

  • TA  $  5.00
    $  5.00 (sent separately)
  • EF  $50.00
  • AL  $50.00
  • JL   $20.00
  • GvL$20.00
  • LC   $33.00

We’ve raised $183.00 !

THANK YOU ALL very much!  I found the screen for my laptop  (HP Omen P/N: 811202-001) on Ebay ranging from $150 to $300.  I’ve Messaged the person selling one that is now in my price range thanks to your donations to verify that it has the touchscreen capabilities, and is not JUST the visual part.   I really hope so!  Because I can afford that one now.  The other one I saw on ebay was around $300.  Waiting to hear back that it is exactly what it claims to be by the part number, my fingers are crossed!  Will update here when I find out.


I am so depresssed!   The item on ebay with the right part number turns out to only be the visual part of the screen, NOT the touch screen.  Why would you use the same part number for two different things??? 

Unless someone knows where else I can get the parts, or has the same laptop that is dead for another reason (eg: dead motherboard etc), I need to raise almost double what I have already as its $300 🙁  Here’s the reply from the seller I asked just to be sure before spending the money… (click to enlarge).

SO… I am still accepting donations because I still need to:

  • raise another $120 (not counting paypal fees if sent via non-friends means) to cover the cost of the replacement touch screen,
  • need to get the Wacom tablet pen replaced, and
  • if at all possible would like to get enough for the laptop repair work to be done at a repair shop. 
    While I CAN do it on my own if I can’t raise enough, but because of Ehlers-Danlos, (which is why the need for multiple assistive input devices to switch between frequently so my joints don’t lock up, like the touch screen and Wacom tablet pen), I have bad arthritis / dislocating joints, and dismantling a laptop to replace the screen is a very involved job- you have to pretty much take everything apart to get at the connectors, and all the screws and other parts are so teeny-tiny, then put the entire thing back together again.  I’ve done it before, when I was more able bodied, and it was horrible even then.

With the Intuos Wacom Tablet- the tablet itself, and the mouse, are fine, I only need the pen… if anyone has an old pen they no longer need/use, you could mail me that and then I wouldn’t have to buy it!  I even have extra nibs, so if yours is missing the nibs, no worries!!!  Then pens seem  to be inter changable, you don’t have to have had the same size/model tablet as i have, just Wacom.   It looks like the one in this auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wacom-Intuos-2-Grip-Pen-XP-510E-03A-with-5-New-Nibs-New-Button-New-Grip

Some people also asked about ways to help that did NOT involve PayPal / cash.   Totally understand that…  

Per private chats, we still need to figure out proper scripts for glasses as we have been sharing the same pair that is about 5 yrs old.  How pathetic is that?  Our health issues make it difficult for us to both be able to get out to get something like this done at the same time (Tam can’t drive due to the seizures, so we both have to be well at the same time, and i can’t be suffering from insomnia etc to drive safely)  Until I figure out the right script, there is no use in wasting money on something that will be the wrong prescription.  We’ve made it this long.

I made an Amazon Wishlist that is basic needs for the two of us.  You can find that here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1V8J4ZDQB06Y0/ref=cm_wl_list_o_3?&sort=priority  It’s what we spend most of our money on (other than mortgage and utilities and medical prescriptions), so any help with those things means we can divert money from that to the computer repair (and glasses etc once I get that figured out).

If you want to give me something for fun, to distract me from stresses, my regular  ”wishlist” (mostly books) is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3L8OAYYUWCO7D/ref=cm_wl_list_o_0?&sort=priority  But the other wishlist is far more important.  Thank you.

IF YOU HAVE A WACOM PEN to mail or other supplies etc to mail, contact me for a mailing address.  THANK YOU!

Exhausted must try to sleep now.

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Need help with laptop damaged during Medical Emergancy

by Alan - May 8th, 2017

A few weeks ago, my spouse was in the hospital.   It was in the middle of the night and our brilliant Service Dog, Mikołaj, woke me up– barking and literally dragging me out of bed by my sleeve.  I have a sleep disorder so its very hard to wake me up, but he did it.   When I finally woke up, I found my spouse (Whom some of you know as Tam, or Bug) non-responsive  – as in, cold to the touch, purplish blue lips, and not breathing.  If it was not for Mikołaj, I do not think thay’d be alive today.

I tried CPR and Heimlich- that worked, some food and lots of vomit!   They had choked on something during a seizure.   911 was called and the emergency workers came in with all their equipment, and proceeded to make hostile accusations about the cause of their condition that deserves a future rant, and more, but that’s another story and not what I’m writing about today.

What this post is about is that the EMS workers dropped a large box like thing on the bedside table.   On this table I had my laptop, carefully closed and in its case.   This is normally a very safe, and easily accessible place for me.   After the hospital ordeal was over and I got on the computer, I  found that my Wacom Tablet wasn’t working right.  Further, the laptop wasn’t working right.  At first, it was minor, then it got worse- the cursor jumping around erratically, windows closing or popping open unexpectedly.  I thought maybe there was a virus.  Maybe some driver was updated and incompatible.    I even went and tracked another mouse down, with no luck with it.  Then I saw it:  the screen was cracked.  And I remember that’s where the EMS workers dumped their stuff.

The thing about my laptop, is that I carefully chose it because it had the memory etc I needed to do the things I do, and to multitask (I not only often need a text editor and web browser (with multiple tabs) open, and an art program, all open at the same time, I need assistive device programs running in the background – such as voice recognition, or for the drawing tablet, or to catch typos etc).  The second reason I chose this laptop is that it has a touch screen which isn’t that common on laptops.  Although I do have a cheap tablet which of course is a touch screen device- it doesn’t have the memory needed, nor does it have a keyboard or multiple ports for adding a mouse a wacom tablet etc.  Plus, the size is hard to use because holding it forces my thumb out of joint.

Because of my physical disability, Ehlers-Danlos (link for more info/links), I use multiple assistive devices with my laptop: I switch between the touch screen, the mouse, a wacom tablet and pen, the touch pad on the keyboard, using ‘mouse keys’, and sometimes voice recognition- often within minutes of using one of the others.  If I use one input method for more than a few minutes, my fingers and wrist lock up; the pain travels up my arm to my shoulders neck and back and I end up in pain that even a strong dose of prescription pain killers can’t stop.  I end up moving between the bath and bed for the rest of the day, trying to get it under control.

When the EMS workers dropped this big box thing on my computer case, it cracked the touch screen on the laptop- it’s a very fine crack on the screen, that is not yet affecting the visuals, but makes the touch capabilities impossible to use.  I was able to turn off the touch-screen driver, so I can use the laptop, but I’m currently restricted to the keyboard or the mouse.  I’ve lost the touch screen and the wacom tablet as assistive devices.  While I can use the laptop still- I thus limited to using it only for very short periods of time or else my joints get all locked up.  This seriously limits the time I can get anything done on it.   Plus, that crack is going to grow- they always do.  Eventually, the visuals will go, and the computer will be useless then.

The Wacom Tablet itself didn’t crack – as the mouse still works- but the PEN that comes with it, that did break somehow.  I don’t know what/how, but the pen costs around $100

Almost all of my work is done on the computer, both online and offline.  Being Autistic, almost all of my social contact is also online, even with people I know offline.  It allows me to do things like banking and shopping and making Dr Appointments- which would otherwise, due to social anxiety and environmental sensory stressors, be difficult to impossible for me to do offline.  So loss of the computer is also loss of independence.

In the past, I have tried to raise money for things we needed by putting things on Ebay or Etsy or the storefront software I wrote myself… I have spent several weeks since the incident and now, trying to get together stuff to sell. It’s proven impossibly slow since I can only use the laptop in spurts and the tablet cannot handle the size of the images from my camera.  Just to get ONE item photographed, edited, uploaded, weighed to figure out postage, a description written for the store front… it had taken a full week.  At this rate, the screen will certainly be broken and computer unusable long before I get my online store restocked, and running again.  I don’t even know if what I have would sell well or not (mostly pet supplies, some artwork, other random stuff), or bring in enough to help cover the cost of the laptop.

The Laptop is a HP Omen.  I was lucky to get it on clearance after Christmas as a gift to myself with Holiday and birthday money I saved up (so I have only had it a few months!).  It was around $600.  At Microcenter you can buy accidental insurance, which I did, for 2 years, so that brought it up to 7-something I think.  I checked their website, and there are currently NO OTHER LAPTOPS that have close to the amount of memory that this one does AND that have a touch screen which has been a huge help for me due to my joint disease.  I have asked before, and they will not let you buy a computer from another store online and have it shipped to your local store.  If I bring them the damaged computer, they will give me a gift certificate, and I will be stuck unable to buy a replacement laptop that can run half my software (or multitask assistive software) or provide one of the best assistive aides I’ve had on a laptop for a long time- the touch screen.

Further, my Wacom Tablet’s warranty has long ago expired, so a new one would have to come entirely out of my pocket.

The problem is, being on disability, our income is just above the poverty level.  Enough to keep us out of most help programs, but low enough that every month is a scramble just to cover the cost of food and medication copays.

Fixing the touch screen is the FIRST and most important thing.  If the screen cracks further, the laptop will become useless.  If I can get the Wacom tablet replaced, it will be a huge relief to my joints and stress level.   I have found the screen can be purchased on Ebay for around $150 to 300-some dollars on average- there may be other places to buy it, I am not sure where to look though that is reputable.

I have the know-how to replace the screen myself.  Hard my hands as they are prematurely arthritic and my joints all dislocate, but it is doable.  If I could raise extra money, I could maybe buy the screen and afford to pay a local repair shop to do the work.  I will be surprised if I could raise enough money to also get a new wacom tablet, but as mine was several years old, I don’t know, maybe someone has an old one they no longer use and would be so kind as to gift it?

If you are able and willing to help, I thank you very much.

Because of being Autistic, the computer is my lifeline, but because of the Ehlers Danlos, using any computer has become very physcially painful and thus I need multiple assistive input devices.  

These are the ways you could help:

1. Send a donation via PayPal.  Please send as a ‘friend’, otherwise PayPal will take a chunk of the donation out for “fees”, and every penny matters for us (and you are helping me as an online friend, so there is no reason to feel awkward sending this way.  If however it does really bother you, you can alternatively use the ‘donation’ link.

  • PREFFERED: help by sending money by PayPal as a Friend here: https://www.paypal.me/PetNouveau
  • Alternative: if you have an PayPal account, you can send money directly to me via the email below, or use this donation link (will deduct ‘fees’, so I won’t get the full amount):

2. Send used or purchased parts.  If you have an old wacom tablet (compatible with Windows 8) you no longer use, or you happen to have the same laptop I have- maybe the motherboard died and you got a replacement, I could scavenge it for parts.  Here are the Specs on my laptop:  HP Omen with Intel Core i7-4720HQ,  8 GB RAM memory and Running Windows 8.1 And these are the parts I need to get fixed:

  • 15.6″ Touch Screen Display <- THIS IS THE PART I NEED REPLACED.   IT IS HP PART NUMBER: 811202-001 “Display Panel Kit” I found it on EBAY $300 (Edit: the one I thought was $150 turned out not to have the  touch screen part) is it available anywhere else?  The official HP store wants $900 which is more than I paid for the laptop itself!).  As said, I can replace the screen myself.  But, it will be hard on my joints.  If I can raise enough money, I could have a local repair shop do it.
  • Intuos Wacom Tablet PEN.  Mine is a medium and has both a mouse and pen.   Only the pen broke.  I had lost it several years back and was able to buy a new one (before my medicine copays got jacked up) and it was around $100 for just the pen.   Looks the model is pretty old that buying a used tablet as well as the pen may be cheaper than that even.   If the pen can be found cheaper though, that is all I need.   This Ebay Auction shows what my tablet and the pen look like (they don’t have the mouse for some reason): http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wacom-INTUOS3-6-x-8PTZ-930-Graphics-USB-Tablet-GRIP-PEN-/282464839480?hash=item41c4376738:g:6iIAAOSw42JZDoP4

3. If you live in the Chicagoland area and happen to want some pet chickens, I have a whole bunch of chicks that were hatched between April 4th thru 14th).  They are $5 – $10 each depending on breed; http://fithfath.com/farm/poultry/chickens/a-new-chicken-breed-for-the-city/ I actually talk about them in on another page so I won’t describe them here.  I also have some Dog toys (large stuffy octopus, collars, leashes, glow in the dark ChuckIt frisbees, treat dispensing toys etc) Cat Toys (handmade little stuffies full of sheep wool and/or catnip and some with naturally shed chicken feathers) Bird/parrot toys (both commercial and handmade) and toys/supplies for pet rats, hamsters, gerbils.  I wanted to get this stuff online to sell, but it’s taking me too long, and I fear that either it won’t sell, or that it ill but I will loose money on shipping so that what profit I make is pocket change.  If you live nearby though, it might be economical, so feel free to contact me by email if you’d like more info:

ETA 15th May: Update on what has been raised, and how far I have to go still is available here: http://fithfath.com/farm/2017/05/15/update-on-computer-repairs-thank-yous-and-life/

These photos show the screen that was cracked.  On one of them, I marked the crack out in red as it is very fine and hard to see.   I put some ‘gorilla glass’ over it that was meant for a tablet, so it doesn’t cover the whole screen, and is really really annoying when reading to see the text ‘warp’ at where the gorilla glass edges are.  But hopefully it slow down the crack getting worse.  (Wow, the camera flash really makes all the dust stand out.   I can’t see any of that in the room’s lighting.   Guess I better clean it.)

ETA: for those who have suggested GoFundMe, yes I know of it.  I tried it before when Tam/Bug’s home aide left, and their dog was dumped on us.  I tried using GoFundMe so we could afford basics of dog food etc while trying to get her into a no kill breed specific rescue… it was one of the most depressing things I’ve failed at.  The website kept sending me suggestions on how to fundraise- but either I couldn’t do them due to the disabilities, or I tried and the suggestions didn’t help us gain any donations or even views.  I ended up returning the few donations we got, as after fees, it wouldn’t even have been enough to buy a bag of dog food, and we had to take the dog to the local ‘kill’ shelter.  They do have a low kill rate, and the dog was friendly and trainable, so I do hope it turned out well for her, but I don’t want to use their site or anything like it as long as I live.

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Baby Chicks, and the start of a new breed project…

by Alan - April 25th, 2017

I am very excited about our baby chicks this year!   I am still working on the page about them, and which will be available for Chicago area enthusiasts to purchase.   The reason I have so many extra chicks to place this year, is that I have a genetic project I have long drempt of doing… to get all the foundational breeds / genetics to start working with, I had to order from different hatcheries, from breeders who sold hatching eggs, and also have some hatched from our own flock!  I couldn’t find all the breeds/mutations I needed at one place,  so I had to go to another, and yet another…. and each one has shipping minimums, so I had to order extras.  I will soon get a page up listing the extras I have available for purchase.   You can read about the new breed project on the page I have set up for it.

And as it was impossible to get all the breeds/genetics from one hatchery. I will also soon have up reviews from three hatcheries and an egg supplier.  For those that want home-hatched eggs, I have some of those available too!   Watch this space 😉


tags: chicken breeding   chickens  

The City of Austin Wants YOU to keep Backyard Chickens!

by Alan - April 22nd, 2017

It is always good to see a city that “gets it”!   As a part of Austin Resource Recovery’s Home Composting Rebate Program, residents can attend a “chicken keeping class,” buy a chicken coop, submit a rebate application online and receive a $75 check from the city.

They are promoting the program as a way to help reach the city’s Zero Waste goal by keeping food waste out of the landfill.

“Chickens recycle your food scraps while giving you fresh eggs and creating healthy soil,” the city said in an email.

Read the story here: http://www.kvue.com/news/local/city-giving-free-classes-cash-to-austinites-who-plan-on-keeping-chickens/431009868

Click to see this Historical, pro-backyard chicken, USA government ad, full sized. It is your patriotic duty! 😉



tags: eggs   self sufficiency   sustainable agriculture  

Pisanki (Polish Painted Eggs)

by Alan - April 17th, 2017

Polish pisanka painted wooden eggsAlthough it is a little late for Easter, but I wanted to share a photo of these special eggs.  They are painted wooden eggs given to me by my grandmother who brought them with her when she moved to the USA after World War II.  Called Pisanki in Poland and Belarus, they are popular in many eastern European countries, where they go by other names as well, such as Pysanka in the Ukraine, kraslice in Czechoslovakia.  Originally of pagan origin, they were incorporated into christian traditions and continued to be shared as symbols of friendship to this day.

Further Reading:

tags: crafts   Easter   eggs   painted eggs   Pisanki   Poland   Polish cultural heritage wooden eggs   Pysanka  

Today’s Cuteness…

by Alan - April 2nd, 2017

Two of our ducks, and the two available ewe-lambs.

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