Friday, January 30, 2009

Not-So-Brave Maddie

It seems the horses and the dogs have a curiousity about each other. Ava and Moonbeam followed Maddie, our Newfie, as she walked the fence around the pasture. As soon as the horses got close to the fence, Maddie scrambled. She is 140 lbs of pure chicken! Afterall, horses are very scary creatures....she says.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Raising the Roof

The windows have arrived. The roof is on....and just in time as we got another 3 inches of snow and sleet. At this point the contractors can work inside without exposure to snow and freezing rain.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling Just Ducky

Is this a face that only a mother could love? Did my ducks mingle with a turkey?? Actually this duck is a Muscovy duck. He is one of three that were given to us by a friend. I should say he is one of three remaining Muscovies....a few perished at the hands of predators.



Muscovy ducks are originally a tropical breed of duck from South America, Central America, Mexico and as far north as Texas. They adapt well to colder climates, however. Unlike Mallard ducks, the Muscovy do not form breeding pairs, but rather mate "willy-nilly" with whomever they please.....as we have well witnessed. We have one poor Muscovy female (middle duck in picture)...and she is never lacking attention. They will mate on land or in the water...so even our pond offers no refuge for her. I suppose this spring we will find duck eggs in the vicinity of the pond. It would be so much fun to watch a family of ducklings grow....if only predators weren't such a big concern.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Magnificence

We try as often as possible to watch both the sunrise and the sunset at the farm. This morning's sunrise was breathtaking. It was almost beautiful enough to make us forget that it was only 9 degrees as we went about our morning chores. What a perfect way to start the day.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Every Day.... A Little Progress

The roof trusses are up! You may notice a gap between the roofline of the garage and the roofline of the house. That are will be framed in and the roofs will meet at an angle. The garage is at a 45 degree angle to the house.











This is the view out the front of the house....standing in the loft. The wide open triangular space will be filled with a log gable that has 2 triangular windows. I love the view from this room....both out the back and the front.



The two large windows on either side of the house will be bay windows. Three French doors will fill those spaces on the very front of the house. Eventually, the foundation will be covered with stone and final grading will expose the doorway better. Also jutting from the front of the house will be a deck and a triangular roof over that deck.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Life of a Barn Kitty

I forgot to mention how our barn kitties fight the cold......
They each have their own goat-warming hut (made by Uncle Mike). You might remember that Uncle Mike had instructions for making these warming huts published in the last issue of Hobby Farms. Needless to say, they come in quite handy for many of our animals and fowl.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Surviving the Cold

This past week we have been hit by a frigid Arctic blast. Everybody on Bee Haven Acres has his own way of staying warm....





Jack and I wear quilted snow suits over our clothes....Jack in camo, me in basic brown. Fur-lined bomber hats protect out heads and necks.






Sadie and Maddie are protected by a layer of brown fat and a double thick fur coat. We have never even seen them shiver once.






The horses are equipped with a gut that acts as a metabolic furnace. As long as they are eating, they are warm.











Wearing a wooly coat helps, too!








The guineas find protection from the elements in the boughs of the trees, and the chickens stay warm and cozy in their henhouses.


As long as it is not raining, the goats are always happy...seemingly unaffected by the cold.

Click on the picture at left for a video.


Smoochie doesn't mind the cold at all. He and the rest of the fainters wear fluffy fur coats.

By the way, how do you like his hairstyle??? We probably should have named him Elvis!

Friday, January 16, 2009

One Cool Cat

Barn work is never solitary...not since TomTom joined us. Whatever the chore, he is in the middle of things. This is our barn refrigerator...home to horse treats and eggs. I am not sure what TomTom's fascination with it is...perhaps the fact that the refrig is actually warmer than the barn these days!

In the mornings, during stall cleaning, he often climbs our pantlegs in order to get some special attention. Some might label him a pest....but we love him.

PS: There are icicles in my kitchen!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Going Up?


Left side of loft

















Middle of loft


Right side of loft

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Beginning of a Loft

Here are pictures from today's construction. The garage is framed out. The second floor logs are started. Wooooo Hoooooo! We are so excited!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quiet Winter Scenes

Being from Africa, Guineas are not so fond of snow and ice, and so they spend most of these days seeking shelter on the Dutch doors to the horse stalls. This was the view from the top of Bee Haven Lane yesterday after the snow ended. Off to the far right in the distance is the barn.The structures straight ahead down the lane include two chicken houses on the right and 3 goat pens on the left. It is so peaceful on days like this...the snow has a way of muffling the sounds and for the most part, the chickens and goats stay warm and dry in their houses. Yes, that is our dear Sadie in the front of the picture....wherever we go...Sadie is always on our heels.
Ava likes to catch a little nap on the soft pine needles beneath the old pine in the front pasture.




Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chicken Ice Capades


Have you ever seen a chicken ice skate? After this past ice storm, the chickens are hesitant to go out in their yard...but for a yummy treat, they will endure just about anything.... Click on the picture above to watch them skate.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Start of a Garage....

Apparently today was a good day for building a garage. By noon, one wall was up .....
It sure looks messy at this point! Temporary steps to the loft have been added to facilitate building the second story. That will start next week (if this coming snow storm doesn't play havoc).
That little triangle area in the center of this picture, with no beams above it will be a small triangular bathroom....what else would you do with a spare triangle?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Construction Update

An ice storm caused work to stop for today. Here is how the house looked at the end of yesterday. Shortly after this picture was taken, the logs for the second story arrived. They will get these logs into place over the next week. Then, next Wednesday the roof trusses arrive and will be lifted into place with a crane. One week after that, the window order arrives, and all of the windows will be placed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Amazon Chicken

You might remember that we started a new batch of just hatched Rhode Island Red chicks a few months ago. Well, finally these gals have grown big enough to be introduced to our other older chickens. The newbies were moved into the henhouse about a week and a half ago and all seems to be going fine. The strange thing that we have noticed is this......

Look closely at this picture of our youger gals and note the chicken in the center of the picture. She is the same age and breed as the rest of the chickens around her, but she stands head and shoulders over them and has a fully developed comb and wattle.


We have dubbed her our Amazon chicken...because we have no idea why she is so well developed!


Any ideas?


Oh and for those of you who follow our blind chicken "Helen".....here is the latest picture of Helen and the Maude Squad. The three of them are happy as can be in their luxury house. I hate to tell them that at some point this house is going to be home to a few Bourbon Red Turkeys.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy News

Missy is pregnant with twins!! This is especially good news for the farm. About a month ago we did pregnancy checks on the three female goats that were bred this Fall. Myrtle and Jill both had babies on board, but we could find no evidence of fetuses in Missy. Missy was bred with Yo Skip and we were so hopeful that a pregnancy would result. In spite of the original ultrasound results, Missy kept getting fatter. So, yesterday morning we checked her again and sure enough....twins! This is so very exciting as Missy makes great looking babies and is such a good Mama to them.
The first very handsome goat (with the curly bangs) in this picture is Smoochie. Smoochie was Missy's very first kid...born last March. Behind Smooch is YoSkip (one of Myrtle's twins from last March)...He was bred with Missy this year. It will be so much fun to see what their babies look like.
Here is one of the fetuses we saw on ultrasound. On the left of the screen you can see its' head at the top and the rest of its' body below. It is amazing how much like a human baby it looks at this point.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Clear Skies

Clear skies make for great construction days. Today was a big day...our contractor hired a crane to lift the main beams into place. Very soon we will start to see the logs of the second floor go up.


This is a 10 by 10 solid pine post that helps to hold up the main beam running through the center of the house. This beam will make up one of the corners of my kitchen. The beam that sits upon it is 12 by 12 solid pine and the smaller beams are 6 by 12.
Those red poles that help to hold up the main beam will be hidden in walls. This view shows the width of the house from the kitchen, across the dining and great room, the study and into the Master Bedroom. It is sort of hard to imagine without any of the interior walls in place. All of these beams will be exposed in the finished house. The interior and exterior will be stained a bit darker and sealed eventually.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Mew Year!

It seems that our TomTom is a real party animal! I think he had a bit too much tequila last night as he was ringing in the New Year.....

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