Monday, April 30, 2012

Bad Breaks (Bad Brakes)

If you have ever had the opportunity to watch a baby bird hatching from its egg,
you will agree with me that it is rather miraculous that we have any birds on this earth
at all!

Peck, peck, peck...
they work so very hard with their little beaks...
which are equipped, by the way, with a little "egg tooth".
This sharp projection on the top of the beak helps to break through the tough egg shell,
and eventually wears away.

The hatching process takes several hours and is exhausting for the tiny bird.

For the past 28 days we have had 7 of Edith's eggs in our incubator.
Edith is our female bourbon red turkey.

Sadly, we had no luck hatching baby turkeys....
in fact, it was a rather tragic weekend.
Three babies broke through their eggs and all three died in the process.

We had read all we could find about hatching turkeys.
Some sources claimed that you must help the chick to break out of the shell.
Other sources claimed you did not need to help them.

We tried both methods...
both failed.
If anyone has any ideas for us....please share!


On a happier note, however,
I added 12 chicks to my new flock of guinea keets....
4 Barred Rocks, 4 black sex links, and 4 Rhode Island Reds.
All are doing quite well.

The weekend's weather prediction included a bit of rain...
of which we received none!
Instead, it was fabulously beautiful....

With no rain, though, we were forced to hand-water our 100 blueberries and
20+ young orchard trees.
Hopefully we will get some rain this week!

Saturday, our gator (which was parked at the top of our driveway by the garage)...

decided to let loose of its parking break, make its way backwards down the driveway,
and wrap itself around a tree.

It could have been worse....
if the tree had not stopped it, it might have gone over the edge of a rather steep hill and
ended up in the "holler"!

On this week's To Do List:

1. fix gator
2. order turkey babies
3. do a rain dance... continue watering!

Friday, April 27, 2012

An Agrarian Lifestyle....With Gratitude

It's late afternoon, Thursday.
I am sitting here typing with a terra-cotta pot's worth of soil trapped beneath my nails.
My clothes, jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt, act as a steel trap for countless tiny pieces of hay...
which seem to find their way into every crack and crevice on my body.
I've not showered yet (soon to be rectified)...
in fact, I am pretty sure that I have not even combed my hair!
Despite my grungy looks, I am as happy as I could be...
as happy as a pig in a pool!

Oh, and check out how MaryAnn likes to get a drink....

Perhaps I need to install a water fountain for her!

It's been a good day.
My chores are done.
I've trimmed some hooves.
I gathered 5 1/2 dozen eggs (a record!)

The horses and donkeys have all been out to graze and are now napping in their paddocks.
(Everyone came back in, willingly, today!)

I've planted some seeds in the greenhouse.
And earlier plantings are thriving.

In my greenhouse are tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash, flowers,
ground cherries, corn, popcorn, tomatillos (purple), green beans, celery, 
purple broccoli, orange cauliflower, Christmas tree cauliflower, and herbs.

My garden is getting better day by day.
The 150 strawberry plants have all grown and will soon blossom.

In the ground, already, are carrots (red, orange and purple), broccoli,

turnips, beets, spinach, kale,

parsnips, broccoli, sugar peas, radishes, Swiss chard,

cabbage (red and green), leeks and onions (several varieties).

I spent some time, today, planting rutabagas, cauliflower, purple kale and another rhubarb plant.

And so I end my day grimy, but satisfied.
I love this lifestyle.
The work is's tiring.
But, there is great satisfaction in working the earth and caring for it's creatures.
It's quiet and peaceful; and it fills every crack in my soul with gratitude...
gratitude for the opportunity to live like this... to work like this...
and to reap the fruits of my labor.

Gratitude for the magic of this beautiful world...
where placing a tiny seed into the soil begins a process that ends with a
miraculous living organism that provides food to nourish our bodies.

It just doesn't get any better than that!

And now I will quickly get a shower and try to look civilized when Hubbs comes home!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend...
and if you have a chance...
dig in the dirt.
Plant some food.
And think about the wondrous miracle that each seed holds within it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Surf's Up!

With the advent of warmer weather came the necessity for some way for our dear
piggy girls to cool off.
Apparently, pigs don't sweat and are not good at getting rid of heat,
so hot days are hard on them.

The solution?
A piggy pool, of course.

And yesterday MaryAnn decided to try it out.....

If you've never seen a pig smile, you have now!

She'd be doing back flips and cannon balls into the pool if she could!

In our search for something to use as a pool,
we weren't satisfied with plastic kiddie pools, as the sides are flimsy
and the edges are sharp.

So, instead, we opted for a sand box that was solid plastic.

It holds water well...just deep enough for a lounging pig!

MaryAnn would give it "two thumbs up" if she had thumbs!

And, as you can see it is just the right height for them to enter and exit 
with no difficulty!

After their swim,
they happily ran back to the barn for supper.

And when I say run.... these two gals can really cover a lot of ground in a short time!
They may not look it, but they are quite athletic!

Just in case they decide to head the wrong way, we keep their lead ropes and halters on...
until they are safely tucked in their stall.

And just because I got this adorable picture of Daphne,
 I will share it with you....

Isn't she just the most stubborn sweetest girl ever?

PS....yes I have eeked a little time out to sew.
I put pictures of my latest work on my sewing blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feathers and Fur

My new little guinea keets are doing quite well...
at least the ones that remain.

Apparently the first day after their arrival, several escaped through a crack beneath the brooder door.
(a very tiny crack)
We would never have known it (without counting),
save for the fact that Sammy had one in his mouth....
twice...two different chicks.
He has a very soft mouth, and so the chicks were unharmed.
We surmise he found them running around outside the henhouse and gently picked them up.

So, to his credit, he ended up saving two chicks that surely would have perished in the cold night air!
Needless to say, the crack is covered now...
and the keets are big enough that they no longer fit.

Every morning I stop by the pond to feed the ducks.

For the past several weeks, there has been a pair of wood ducks on the pond when I arrive.
These tiny, shy ducks fly away when they see me, so I never get a picture of them.
Last year Hubbs put wood duck houses near the pond.

I just noticed through my camera lens, that this box has nesting material in it.

Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Wood Duck have moved in!
I will try to stealthily snap their picture.

In case you were wondering how the comings and goings of the donkey girls has been....
they both happily go out to graze now.

Coming back in, however is a different story.
Patience is something of which I will have to keep an extra supply!

Little Leo is doing just fine after his surgery (see yesterday's post).
He is no longer limping on his back leg.

And here is my most loyal friend of all...Sadie,
our 8 year old Bernese Mountain Dog.
Sadie is the quirkiest dog I have ever owned,
but she is also the most fiercely loyal.
She often accompanies me on trips to the mailbox or garden.
And if she doesn't walk the entire way,
she sits here and waits for my return trip.

(This picture is for you, June!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coming of Age

Our little Leo the Lion has come of age.
(Here he is last summer when he just appeared on the farm...
cute, huh?  Of course we kept him!)

And with maturation comes hormone induced behaviors.
Apparently he has been fighting with "someone"...we aren't sure who.

How did we know?
Well this furry little man has taken to hiding out in the hayloft of the barn for the past
couple of days.  When I checked on him, I realized he was limping.
Close inspection revealed a wounded leg.
I had Dr. Becky examine him and she said it was abscessed.

So, yesterday afternoon, Leo went under anesthesia...

Dr. Becky debrided his leg wounds (two bites)...

And removed his testicles!

His surgery went well,
and he gradually woke up...a little "loopy" for a while.

His leg wound will remain open
and he will care for it himself...
keeping it clean.

Looks like someone is going to be spending a little more time in the hayloft.
After that the fighting should be a thing of the past
and we will have our sweet Leo back again.

I've said it before...
testosterone is the root of all evil!
(Just kidding, Hubbs!)

PS: we have been getting some much needed rain here on the farm these past 3 days.
The newly planted grass is happy.

The horses are not.


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