Tuesday, September 30, 2008

De-Construction

Pictures tell it all!
Sliding glass doors have all been removed. The back screen porch is almost gone, and the pool deck is, too. The fellow doing the work tells me the only thing that will be left when he is done is drywall and foundation. Wow!

Snug as a Bug

"Snug as a bug in a rug"....that is how I would describe life in our little A-frame. We have all the essentials in a very tiny space. I thought I would give you a little tour of our living quarters for the next year while our log home is being built. At the present time there is a crew in the farmhouse "deconstructing" it. They have promised me that if they have a month to work on it, there will be nothing left but a hole in the ground! And we couldn't ask for anything better than that at this point. I hate the idea of placing all of those old building parts in a landfill. This way, our old farmhouse is going to be recycled.
So...let's take a quick tour.... We enter into the main room of the house. The only thing you will not see in this room is the little bathroom that is around the corner. It is complete with sink, toilet, and shower. Small....but it gets the job done!
In this room we have a love seat (beside me....not seen on picture), couch, computer, phone, TV (no stations...just hooked to a DVD player) and stairs up to the sleeping loft. We have ordered a tiny wood stove that will be delivered the middle of this month.


To the right of the main room is the kitchen. What you cannot see on the wall opposite the fridge is a small table and two chairs next to a window.

Climb the stairs in the main room, and tucked under the roof of the A-frame is a sleeping loft that has a queen size and a twin bed and a chest of drawers.

I am excited for our log home to be built, but in the mean time, this little A-frame will serve us well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Goodbye Farmhouse

What a week this has been! Plans have been finalized, blueprints are finished. Our contractor is on board and we have emptied out the farmhouse. This week was spent packing the last of our belonging and moving them to either our A-framed guesthouse where we will live until our log home is complete....or to our storage. Several salvage crews are scheduled to remove as much of the useful parts of the farmhouse as can possibly be taken. We hope to have very little left to demolish when they are finished. The less that goes into a landfill, the better!!






So, we say good bye to the old.....



Hello to the temporary.....
I will take pictures as demolition and construction progresses.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a Weekend!!

Wow, I am exhausted! You will rarely hear me admit to that, but after this weekend, it is true! I wrote a post on my Sew on and Sew Fourth (personal) blog after lying on my back in the apple orchard on Friday with Maddie, our Newfie. We picked a market basket full of apples for a pie and then took a little break to share an apple. You can watch the video of Maddie eating her apple here. From that perfectly restful moment on, we were off and running! (By the way, the pie was delicious!) Friday afternoon we met with our builder and finalized plans for demolishing our farmhouse and starting construction on our log home. Then we headed back to the farm to meet a young couple who were interested in taking our hot tub (listed "Free to a Good Home" on Craigslist.com). The hitch was...the hot tub had to be lifted from our pool deck by a crane (not something that just everybody has in their garage. This young couple had some friend with a humongous tow truck and this is how they got their hot tub.......

Saturday morning started with the usual chores....and nothing out of the ordinary happened, for once. However, by the time the sun started to warm things up (around 9 AM) we had our M*A*S*H type hospital OR suite set up in the goat pasture. By the time 10:30 rolled around we had anesthetized and castrated 4 young bucks. Becky (Jack's sister and resident farm Vet did the surgery with Jack and Mike and I assisting. Each surgical procedure was done without any incidents. I thought I would spare you any graphic pictures.....I must say, though, the surgeries were impressive. My job was to scrub and shave each of them for their surgery...needless to say, this was done after they were asleep. Can you imagine chasing a goat around trying to shave between it's hind legs? I don't think any of them would have stood still for that nonsense! Here is Becky giving them sedation....off to sleep little goaties! While the goats were still "under" it was my job to trim their hooves as well as to do some of the instrument clean-up. At one point, Becky made the comment that she didn't want to see any of them end up with nail polish on their hooves ( I guess I was taking a bit too long to trim their hooves). (I was only trying to make them "perfect"...overkill I guess for farm animals!)

Here is Forrest starting to wake up after his surgery. It was amazing, but shortly thereafter they were all back to their usual Goatie business. All's well that ends well!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ava Update

You might have read in an earlier post that Ava came up lame. Becky x-rayed her yesterday and found that she has a fracture in her right front elbow. This should heal without problems, we hope. For now, Ava is on stall confinement with just an hour turn out by herself twice a day.

Also....tomorrow is the big day for Forrest and Spider and his brother. They have all matured and become full bucks, so it is time for neutering. Here is Spider in all his male glory...see how he has matured!!
Oh, and PS: That new troup of guineas that I accidentally freed 2 weeks ago...has gone AWOL. And so Murphy's Law continues. Last we heard they were about a mile down the road at a neighboring farm. (We've ordered more...to be delivered next week).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Murphy's Law Continues

Things have been relatively calm around the farm this week....no escapes. Chickens, ducks, and guineas are all seemingly happy. Even blind Helen, the white chicken who lives by the goats, has started to lay eggs.

Sadly, though, two of the horses are lame. Becky has been training with Fagner all summer to get him ready for cross country eventing. Fagner is a wonderful partner. He is eager to please and truly enthusiastic about training. Becky has been so excited about finally having the ability to enter him into competition...as they have trained so very hard. So, as she describes it, she "bumped his training up a notch" and he came up lame with a suspensory problem. She describes Fag has her "delicate flower" always with an issue or two. I know no horse who is more loved or better cared for than Fag... Well, it is very disappointing, because this is an indication that he will never be able to compete.

Becky's second horse is Ava, but Ava is only a year old and not ready to train for riding yet. As luck would have it, Ava came in from the pasture limping on her front leg the other night. She seems to have a problem with her right front shoulder. This necessitates more stall time and quiet turn outs....which for a young, spirited horse like Ava is difficult. Becky's greatest fear is that she sustained a kick in that area and possibly fractured her shoulder. Time will tell. Until that time comes, there is really nothing to do but wait and send healing thoughts to Ava. Your help would be greatly appreciated in that area!
On a lighter note: This Saturday is castration day!! Some of this year's bucklings (who are not going to provide stud service) will be having a bit of surgery. Becky (my sister-in-law, the Vet) will perform the surgery and Jack and I will assist. More details after Saturday. The thing is, there are always funny stories associated with castrations....stay tuned!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Murphy's Law

I have always made it my policy to view life with a positive attitude. But, in owning a farm I have come to realize that Murphy's Law truly exists. I teach this law to kids who come to visit the farm....not for the purpose of instilling negativity in them, but rather to make them aware and on their toes. "Be alert when you attend to a particular chore....because if an animal can escape it will escape" etc, etc, etc, I tell them. An extra ounce of attention paid to any task helps to avoid wasted hours "fixing" unwanted outcomes.

And so, each time I set out to do a task around the farm I try to keep a presence of mind and make safety, both for me and the animals, a priority. And still, occasionally, things go awry.


Case in point.... The other morning I was feeding our young guinea brood. Their current home is in the chicken tractor (basically a large low-lying chicken wire pen that can be moved from one location to another). I slid the piece of wood to the side to access their feed but could not stretch my arm far enough to reach their water trough. So I moved around to the side of the pen and reached a stick through the wire and tried to slide the trough closer to the opening....not realizing that I had left the door to the tractor wide open. In a split second, 16 young guinea fowl saw their great fortune and ran for freedom! What can go wrong will go wrong!

Well, the guineas have survived one week now of living on their own. They spend their days combing our acreage, eating bugs and squawking like mad. At night they return to the area that was their last home. They roost on the fence, by the horses, that is next to their chicken tractor. And in the morning, they are once again off and running. They have not joined forces with our 6 remaining "old" guineas, but rather, stay segregated. At least they survived their early release!

All of us have experienced these types of escapes at least once or twice... and countless hours have been spent rounding up chickens, goats, ponies and horses! Long live Mr. Murphy!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Farm Fresh Honey For Sale

Finally, bottled and labeled, our honey is ready for sale. If you are interested in having a box shipped to you, please e-mail me (click here). The price is $40 for a box of 6 one pound bottles. This price includes shipping Priority Mail. Unfortunately, shipping by the bottle becomes price-prohibitive, so we are only shipping in lots of 6 bottles.

If you live close to us, we can sell you honey by the bottle...just let us know.

This honey is raw and is straight from our hives. It is filtered twice during the extraction process, but is full of great nutrients. You may notice that the color is a bit darker that what you find in the store. Our bees are very busy pollinating our apple orchard, blueberry and strawberry and vegetable gardens as well as acres of wildflowers and cultivated gardens. We use no pesticides or chemicals on our farm, so our bees are very healthy and happy!

Unfortunately, because of this year's weather conditions, we only have a small amount for sale at this time. We hope to be able to harvest once more before cold weather.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amazing...

Today is September 5th and I just took this picture this evening. We have one row of ever-bearing strawberry plants in our garden...and they are true to their name! We have had berries of one type or another ripe to pick for the last 3 months non-stop. Amazing!

I picked enough to have a small serving with our breakfast tomorrow. I fear that will be the last of the fresh berries for the remainder of the year, though. At least we have frozen berries to get us through the winter.

Duck, Duck.......Duck (No Geese, Yet!)

Happily, our new ducks have transitioned to their new home and are thriving. Methuselah has joined their group and they spend the day paddling around the pond together. We have learned, though, that when chow time comes around, we must place several piles of feed around the pond or the youngsters chase our old girl away. They must be growing quickly, because they are always so hungry. We are anxiously awaiting their second molting to see what their feather pattern will end up to be.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Needed: Chicken Optometrist

Meet Helen. She is our extremely near-sighted chicken. Weeks ago we found that the other chickens had started to ostrasize her. Upon examination it seemed she had formed rather significant cataracts on her eyes. For her own safety we moved her to another empty goat yard, where she now lives a solitary life next to three of our fainting goats. Occasionally when the sun is down she ventures beyond her little house and clumsily explores the boundaries of her yard, but most of the time stays tucked away inside her doorway. I suppose on most farms she would become chicken dinner, but we just don't have the heart to bring about her early demise. So, she lives a quiet life with food brought to her daily. I might add....she lays no eggs, either. Within the next year we plan to raise chickens for the purpose of eating. I suppose this poor dear will be spared, though. So for now, we will continue our chicken nursing home. Oh, and if you know an optometrist who would like the challenge of fashioning eyeglasses for a chicken....please contact us!

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