Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday!

If I told you that I had a surprise to share with you,
you would probably guess that O'Malley gave birth.

And if you did guess that,
then you would be right!  

O'Malley had two little black and white twins...
one buckling and one doeling.

Thank goodness, too, because O'Malley had had it with the whole pregnancy thing.

She went into labor and in short order and with a little help from Dr. Becky,


delivered a little boy.


After a brief rest period during which she cleaned her little boy,


labor resumed and out came....


a little girl!


We took a little time to make sure they both got the hang of nursing.


Excellent!


Both kids are healthy and beautiful and O'Malley is quite relieved that they are here!

Happy Birthday, Twins!!!


PS...tomorrow is my birthday, and I will be turning 39....
(which would please my mother to no end.)
However, my soon-to-be 30-year-old daughter isn't buying it!
How well I remember turning 30...as if it were just yesterday!
(25 years of yesterdays ago!)

Oh, and have I ever told you...
there is nothing that makes my heart go pitter-patter
like a piece of heavy equipment!!


Many thanks to our friends at Valley Ag and Turf for loaning us this wonderful back-hoe!
What fun we will have this weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Buzzzzzzy Bees

With the advent of this early warm weather,
came the emergence of our bees.
I was worried at first, because the bees were out flying about...
exerting energy with no nectar to sustain them.
We, of course, were feeding them sugar water, but still....
a little cause for worry.


Isn't it like good ole Mother Nature, though, to take care of all the details!
With the warm weather came blossoms on the trees...
weeks before they normally bloom.


And the bees are nourished!


Spring time is a particularly busy time in the hive.
There is all manner of housekeeping to be done,
eggs to be layed, honey to be made, and brood to be fed and tended.


The bees bring pollen into the hive on their back legs in pollen sacs.
It is this pollen that becomes brood food.
So, you see, flowers are essential!


If the weather stays optimal, this should be a wonderful year for honey production.
It's a delicate balance...the weather... that is needed...
just enough rain, but not too much!

I have several packages of new bees and new queens to pick up in May.
These will populate the rest of my empty hives.
If only those bees were here now...while nectar is plentiful!


Yesterday was O'Malley's due date. 
We should have two new baby goats any time now!
Believe me, O'Malley is ready...
she's had it with pregnancy! 


And just for show,
I wanted you to see my lovely bachelor roosters.
They are Ameraucanas and quite showy.


They live close to the farmhouse and have never been exposed to the hens.
However, this picture was taken at the edge of the orchard, which is very close to the barn.
We just may have Rooster Wars in the next few weeks, if these guys get any closer....
I'll keep you posted!

Celery update:


After three weeks in water, I finally have two little roots growing from my celery stalk.
The plant itself continues to grow.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the old stalk are starting to wither.


Don't you just love science experiments?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What a Wonderful World

Some posts truly need no words.
This is one of those.
Enjoy!






Today I'll let the animals show you what's in my heart....




Have a wonderful day!

********************************************

PS....  this post was to be short on words!
But, I had a question about how Minerva is constructed.  
Her body is a long, thick tomato stake.
A cross piece of wood at the shoulders and the hips gives me a place to anchor clothes.  I also attached
a plastic hanger at the shoulder line, so as to give her shoulders a natural slope.  I used to stuff her body, but found that by the end of the summer her "boobs" became her "bum" and she ended up looking like a hunchback!  So, now she is rather flat through the body.



I previously made her head by sewing together two circles (with a little fabric added for a neck), but this gave her a rather flat head.  So....this year I tried for three dimensions.  Think of how a football is sewn together....several ellipses are sewn together to form the head shape.  The front two ellipses have a profile cut out of one side.



The profile pieces are sewn together...so that there is a seam running right down the middle of her face, but in that seam there is a forehead, nose and chin.  She is stuffed with polyester fiberfill, and a marble is inside her nose (held in place by the polyester)  I found that the fiberfill was not strong enough to hold her nose stiff...hence the marble.  Face drawn on with permanent marker....we cannot have her makeup running in the rain, now, can we?
Hair....braided yarn....sewn in place and anchored with hot glue.
Shirt and overalls complimentary of my closet.
Hat.....thrift store...ties added to keep it from blowing away...a little hot glue to help anchor it.
Apron....made by me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lawnmowers

Yesterday was another mostly sunny day on the farm....
with gusty winds howling through the trees.


I feared Minerva might lose her brand new hat!


Our warm weather experienced a hiccup last night as temperatures plummeted into the high 20's.
In preparation, I covered my tender seedlings with clay pots and plastic.


As part of our pasture rotation program,
I moved the pigs into a new enclosure for their grazing time.
This time they shared a yard with our dwarf Nigerian goats.


The goats were unsure about having these strange creatures in their yard with them,
and so they stayed in and around their houses all day long,


watching as the pigs combed over their yard like lawnmowers.


There is nothing more wonderful than fresh Spring grass!


And as long as Ginger and MaryAnn have plenty of grass to eat, 
they resist the temptation to use their snouts as shovels to uncover tasty roots.


I was relieved to see there would be no inter-species skirmishes.
All was quiet...
that is, until feeding time for goats.


To prevent the pigs from eating the goat feed, I harnessed them up and got them to the gate.
Before I could open the gate to usher the pigs back to the barn,
one of our elder goats, Star, marched over to the gate and gave each of the pigs a firm head butt,
sending them squealing out of the enclosure.


It's as if Star was telling the girls to "get lost"...
"it's our time to eat!"

Do you recognize this horse??


Pete is looking so much better.
He is also a very effective lawnmower, and prefers pasture grass over hay.
(naturally)


I believe he has already gained some weight.
He's starting to finally hold his head up...
life is really looking up for this chap!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Minerva May Honeycut Returns

A little rain didn't dampen our gardening spirits this weekend.
Instead, it gave us the opportunity to work in the greenhouse.


We are never at a loss for willing helpers!
Amanda and I filled the workbench with pots of soil and planted seeds for
zinnias, sunflowers, morning glories,
corn, green beans, limas, purple broccoli, orange cauliflower,
pumpkins, squash and gourds,
as well as more onions and several herbs.


Over the next few weeks these tiny seeds will germinate and grow into seedlings 
that we will transplant into the garden boxes.


We donned our rain gear and also put 150 strawberry plants into the garden.
We opted for two varieties....AC Valley Sunset and Cabot.
Cabot are known for hardy, disease resistant plants and huge, sweet berries.
Goodness I can already taste the strawberry shortcake!

Minerva May Honeycut, mastergardener, had a makeover.


In  2009 she looked like this...


in 2010 (she had gone on a diet)....


2011...


And this year, after a little plastic surgery over the winter,
(I decided to try to make her face more three dimensional this year)
and a new wardrobe, she looks like this.....


(Thanks to Amanda for drawing her facial features.)

Minerva has been hard at work, tending garden much earlier this year.
As a result, the sugar peas look like this...


The rhubarb will soon be ready to start harvesting...


The perennial herbs are looking luscious....


Sunday's excitement included catching the Nigerian goats (always mayhem!)
for Hubbs and I to trim their hooves...


 And Dr. Becky to vaccinate and worm them...


By far, the best part of the weekend was a special visit by Tyler.



We had lunch and visited with all of the animals.



Bobby seemed to be Tyler's favorite this time.



But better than the animals was the ride in Aunt Becky's gator!


Weekends are always fun on the farm!

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