Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bert's Adventure

I can hardly believe it, but the day has come.
Just eight short weeks ago, our little Bert looked like this...


And now he's leaving home.
Yesterday was the start of Bert's big adventure.


His new parents, Ruth and Mitch, drove almost 4 hours
from Delaware to pick him up.


They loaded him up in their air conditioned van,
in a comfy cozy crate filled with soft hay
for the trip home.


Bert is going to a really great home where he will have lots of
friends to play with,
and eventually a girlfriend to make a family with, too!

Bye, Bert.....we will really miss you....
you were a very special "kid"!

Sammy tried to hitch a ride along with Bert.


No, Sammy....
you have to stay here.
After all, who would Ollie and Red play with if you left??


On another note...
our "Open Farm" day was a great success.
The weather was perfect.
We had hay rides and tours and lots of time to play with the animals.


Some of the children helped with chores like
gathering eggs...
(they were much happier than these pictures show...I swear!)
(Although I have to admit, they look as if they were
sold into slavery.)



Sadly, I took hardly any pictures....too busy mingling!

And finally, on a very sad note,
Edith, our female turkey went missing yesterday afternoon.
The weather was blistering hot, and Oakley and Sam were not out on patrol very much.
I fear that Edith, my weeding buddy, fell prey to a hunting fox.


I pray she returns, but fear she will not.
Poor Tom and Chuck....who will they show off for now?


Friday, May 27, 2011

I Need An Answer

I have a question for you...
something that has me worried.

Here it is.....

At what point does one qualify to be labeled a chicken hoarder?


Seriously, I know I am not a hoarder,
but my flock seems to be growing as the years pass.

My problem is this....

after several years of laying, chickens eventually stop laying.
Because I have chickens of varying ages,
I never know exactly which chickens are laying and which are not.
So amongst my layers are quite a few retirees, I am assuming.


Even if I knew which gals were no longer productive,
I don't think I would have the heart to stew them.


So as the years pass, I start more chicks so that I have
plenty of eggs for my ever growing flock of customers.


This summer I have started 25 (the Cuckoo Marans and Henri).
And because my old layers are just not up to speed in egg production,
 I have ordered another 25 assorted brown layers to be delivered in July.


As for room in the henhouse....there is plenty with 4 henhouses.
And because the hens are free ranging, they basically only sleep and 
lay eggs in their houses.
The rest of the time they are galavanting around the farm.

I assure you I have happy chickens...
very happy chickens.


Each of the coops gets cleaned every morning.
They always have access to fresh food and plenty of water.
Table scraps are a common treat
(they eat as well as we do!),
and their days are filled with dust baths, insect hunting, pasture grazing,
and communing with all manner of farm critters...peacefully....
making for a well fed, non-stressed life.

So I ask you.....
do I need to worry?
Or better yet....
do my chickens need to worry?

PS....

I wanted to show you this sweet iris.
It is called a black iris, and it came in the mail
early this spring from a sweet friend.
I am so happy it bloomed!
Just lovely....thanks Linda!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Garden Tour

I have to say....
my garden is my favorite space these days.

All of the hours of hard work are paying off.
Everything is growing
(except the weeds!)


So, as promised, I made you a walking tour video of the garden area.
Please excuse me....
it is a very amateur video.

I  am sure that I speak much better than it appears...
I don't think I actually have that many pregnant pauses
in my normal speech.

But...
without rehearsal,
without editing...
you get....
me...
just plain old me...
and my garden.

(I forgot to mention that the garden boxes which are planted with edibles
were built from cedar.)

I have so much more to show you...
I promise to work on my technique a bit before then.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Awwww.........Ewwwwww!

At least once every day I see a scene like this.
Hickory spreading a little lovin' all over Maddie's face.


The first time I saw this I thought, "Awwwwww, how sweet. 
 Hickory loves Maddie"
And Maddie held so still....eating up the attention.
(Maddie is our 5 year old Newfoundland,
 and Hickory is our 15 1/2 year old Norfolk terrier.)

And then I realized what was really going on here....
"Ewwwwwwww!"


Hickory is actually cleaning up Maddie's "eye boogers", as I call them.
She spends about 15 to 20 minutes, licking both eyes and 
also the slobber that Newfies are prone to.

Ok, so maybe it's not love,
but at least they have a mutual understanding!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Still Weeding After All These Weeks!

I have been spending the last couple of weeks getting the gardens in shape
in anticipation of an "Open Farm" day we are having this Saturday.
We have invited Hubbs' co-workers for a day of picnicking, farm tours,
hay rides, fishing, etc...
just in case you were wondering why I have been painting and weeding
and planting like a mad woman.

I spent a little time in the garden yesterday...
more weeding...
more planting.

I have all but finished the vegetable garden
and am working on containers of flowers
and finishing up the flowering vines around the perimeter.
I am so happy with how it looks!

Yesterday I picked up an Ebay auction find...
a pair of 1950's metal lawn chairs.
I will be sanding and painting these to match the rest of the garden
sometime later this week.

While I was planting, TomTom climbed the garden fence
and parked himself on the bluebird house.
See the smug look on his face?

He was just sticking his little paw inside...
looking for tasty sparrow babies.
I suppose turn about is fair play in this case.
Sparrows move into bluebird houses and kill the baby bluebirds
while evicting the bluebird family.

Can you believe that I actually call this little boy
"Bad Sammy"....
he is so angelic, isn't he?

Don't let this act fool you.
He just returned from several hours of hunting in the woods.
He is what you would call "dog tired"!

On a sadder note,
it seems we have had an attack at the duck pond.
I found Mrs. Waddles limping this morning,
and wounded on her back.


She lost a bit of feathers and skin,
but all in all, I think she will heal just fine.

Mrs. Duckles remains on her nest...

in the safety of the duck hut.
Hopefully she will see these eggs through to hatching.
It would be such fun to have ducklings on the pond this summer.

And last but not least....
a sampling of yesterday's garden harvest...

Not pictured is more rhubarb and some fresh young lettuce.
In answer to a question about yesterday's rhubarb sauce....
I cooked down chunks of rhubarb and chunks of apple to make an apple rhubarb sauce.
(The rhubarb was beneath the apples in that picture.)
Yesterday I cooked more rhubarb with a couple of pears to make pear rhubarb sauce.
Oh, it's so good to be eating from the garden once again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Projects

We had a lovely sunny Saturday.
I finally had the chance to finish a project that kept getting
rain delays.
And of course I had helpers.
Now, check out my helpers and see if you can guess what my project was!


My Bourbon Reds are a lovely shade of "Organic Garden Green".

So you guessed...I was painting!
I decided that the garden shed needed to match the playhouse.
Now that it is finished, I am so glad I did it!
What do you think?


It makes me smile, just looking at it!


The planters are now full of brightly colored blooms, too.
The garden perimeter weeding is finished.
As is the mulching all around it.
I have added clay pots full of morning glories, hyacinth beans,
and black-eyed Susan vines around the perimeter.
I also planted a wisteria, two trumpet flower vines, and another vine
(I just can't remember the name of the last one.)
These last four are perennial vines that should get thicker each year.

Sunday was goat moving day.

The Fainting Goat moms and babies left the maternity ward
by Becky's barn, travelled across the orchard field and settled into
their summer quarters next to our Dwarf Nigerian goats.

Ok, everybody...line up!


Now, follow O'Malley!


Such good goats!  Everyone stayed together....


and moved into their new quarters, without incident.


I thought I would share a picture of Henri with you.
He has finally decided to venture out of doors with Fifi and the gals.
Isn't he handsome??  I agree that he looks like a Polish Crested,
but his color is unusual...sort of buff and white.
And check out those white legs!
I think Henri has been spending just a little too much time inside!


And last I wanted to show you our lovely rhubarb.


Which ended up in a pot of organic rhubarb applesauce.
Yum!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Gardening With Turkeys

I wanted to show you what the task of weeding looks like
around our farm.
The past week has me weeding around the perimeter of my 
garden fence.


Each handful of weeds that I pull is supervised by....
Edith!


She inspects each handful of weeds and roots looking for a tasty morsel,
her favorite being grubs.
Occasionally she grabs a gloved finger!
To give you an idea of how close she stays....


you can see she stands right by my knees.

Behind me are the guys, Chuck and Tom.


They stand just as close as Edith, as you can see in this next picture..


I still haven't figured out turkey behavior.
My daughter Jenn says they stay close to us plotting our demise.
Maybe, but I think not.
They have never shown any aggression towards us.
But then, we have never threatened them, either.

The other day, Sam (bad dog Sammy) decided to play with one and started to chase him.
Sam got a good flogging in response and has not been able to go close to them again.

From this, I have learned that they are friendly as long as they are not threatened.
And....they have a good memory!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Building An Ark

And so the rain continues.
Just when the sky lightens, and it looks promising,
I run outside to continue weeding.
Then all of a sudden
another downpour occurs...
sending me scrambling for shelter.


The chickens, goats, and horses are all staying under cover.
I am thinking it might be time to consider plans for an Ark!

My planting is almost finished, luckily.
Now I worry that my little plants will drown in this prolonged rain.

One of the things about above-ground gardening is
that the garden boxes drain super well.
So, I am keeping my fingers crossed.


The spinach and lettuce in my salad table is almost big
enough to start harvesting.


The plants in my red potato box have doubled in size
in the past two days.  Heaven only knows what is happening beneath the surface!



This is what Minerva looked like by the end of last summer.
Now she looks very sad...faded and drenched.
Needless to say, she will be getting a new outfit, a new hairdo, and a new hat
in the next week or so.

And because it is raining so hard, and I cannot get pictures of the baby goats,
I will share a video I took last summer when Fred and Sally were
the "new kids on the block"!


I will leave you with just a little cuteness to brighten up your day.
Here is Tyler at the end of last summer....


and now....

Oh, what fun we'll have this summer.
All we need is a sunny day!

If it is sunny and dry where you are....
I will send you a little rain.
Would you send me a little sun?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is It Raining Where You Are???

This year has me believing that we are in the middle of a climate shift.
It has rained more this spring than any that I can remember.
The farm is starting to feel like a rain forest.

The road that flanks our upper land looks like this...


moist and misty, lush and thickly green.
This is my favorite road in all the world.
Walking down this road is like walking down the aisle of
a magnificent, ancient cathedral....
reverently beautiful and serene.

All this rain mixed with occasional sun has made our hay field thick and long.
Unfortunately, though, it is way too wet to cut and bale the hay.
And so it continues to grow and grow and grow!


With all of this rain, the kids stay indoors....
wishing they could go out to play.


How big our babies have grown in two months and less.
We are preparing ourselves for the upcoming goodbyes.
They will soon be weaned and then will travel to their new homes.
It will be sad to see them go, but they don't stay little forever,
and we have had the best of those days!

The cutest little family is O'Malley's.
They are a close knit group...


and all stick together in the smallest of houses...
O'Malley, her doeling from last year...Sally,
 and the twins born this spring.


Oh, how we hate to see the twins leave!
This spring's babies have been so much fun,
and so sugary sweet!
Just like human babies, though,
they grow up and leave...
eventually having families of their own.

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