Tuesday, November 17, 2015


The wild one helping with egg gathering

The past few weeks have just been crazy. So much busy-ness going on. We are slowly prepping the barns for winter. This seems to be something of a never ending task. 

Move this tractor, tuck it into that corner there, as it won't be used until spring. O those free poly-tech signs, lets use a couple of them to close in this side of this coop, it will keep the heat in for the birds better, and give the tractors some protection from the dust.

Phone call of hey hun Bill Sr has some rabbits he picked up at the auction, says there are some real nice meat bucks in the mix if you want to go take a look see and pick one or two out...come home with 12, including a lovely pet quality lop buck, a nice liter of kits, a broken chestnut doe, and a mix that is silver fox colored. Now every available hutch is full. Gee go figure.

This coming weekend we will be building cattle pens and feeders. Its a must do as winter is fast approaching, and the cows are still all out on pasture. Thankfully for us the weather has held fairly steady, cold at night but very nice most days.

The husband and I bought our little one several pumpkins for Halloween. However, after discovering that she is currently terrified of jack-o-lanterns we just left them whole while we decided what to do with them. We finally came to the conclusion one good idea would be to dry some seeds to try and grow a large crop of our own next year. So now on the side table is a pan full of seeds, and I do mean full. We probably kept aside far too many, but well we can give away or sell any extra plants we have, and if we put in a big enough patch of pumpkins we can sell those as well! I have been taking extra birds, roosters and hens that either are too aggressive for around our daughter or are just too whatever for our own flock, extra buck rabbits when we don't have enough to make butchering worth while, and plants to the swaps fairly successfully already. Jade and I would really like to add produce, meat, eggs and more variety of bed and house plants to our sale items next year. We know we have a long uphill climb to get the stock even remotely self sufficient, or at least able to buy SOME of their feed, but it is a lovely job.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Keep Running

Our Big Blue

Things are so hectic and crazy here. Plans, and changing plans, and altering plans, implementing plans to see that the plan needs some tweaking. That is what fall is for us. The husband started ripping out the gardens Monday. Tuesday it rained, and the gardens were too wet. Changed plan to house work (blech I am an awful housewife). Today he is working extended hours, good for the paycheck, not so good for the process of getting things done. The majority of the family is going to Talladega for da big race. I may enjoy racing, but  I would much rather go to Vegas for the PBR World Finals.

One of this years black cockerels. 

So it is just the hubs, the sister, the kiddo and myself until sometime next week. I am dragging the last turkey from last year out of the freezer. I am just NOT going to have time to cook elaborate meals. Sorry guys turkey sandwiches, fix your owns and casserole, maybe a soup if you are lucky, is what is on the menu!

One of the mottled cockerels, I have two if anyone is looking...

Today I am hoping before they leave dad has time to move the skid steer up by an old icky building that is in need of a deep clean and an overhaul. If we can get it done in time for winter, the floor will be repaired, and a second coop and a set of conditioning pens will be built in it. I really want to get our Cochin breeding program off the ground so to speak. Right now I only have room to breed one rooster to 2-3 hens at a rip. I want Big Blue to have 5 of his own, plus a pen of mottleds and a pen of blacks. I am going to give Blue the best pullets and go from there. I only have one mottled female so I will have to start with her. 

He's got such pretty feet

This weekends project is building up the cow pen for winter, and building a second small pen. We are hoping to pick up a bull calf to steer, so if anyone knows of a nice Holstein, or beef cross for a reasonable price we are looking. I have to set up a butcher appointment for Klondike. I am hoping we have kept him long enough that he has gotten Echo bred. He's a stocky dude, and poor Mo our future breeding ram is still so much smaller. We are looking at a pair of bred barbado-katahdin cross ewes. They are gorgeous, and hair type, which would be so nice for me. I guess time will tell if we can get them or not, but we could really use some more ewes to build our flock, and hopefully provide us with lambs in the spring.
Blue's current harem

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Don't yah just love...

When your spouse gets home early from work? Jade left at 2am, and was home by 9 am yesterday. He got the front blade on the 4-wheeler and pushed manure pile up while I cleaned out coops. It is just so much faster, and easier on me, to just pitch it out the door, and have the 4-wheeler move it to the drop spot, instead of loading it into the wheelbarrow and pushing it out. So the two big coops got cleaned. Today I have to start on horse stalls, get the smaller brooder cleaned out, and get the hutches done. Manure...a never ending up hill battle on the farm. But heck things look and smell so good with all the fresh bedding. and the barn just seems so much brighter!

If anyone is interested, I have a few cochin cockerels for sale. Just let me know.

Monday, October 12, 2015

What a Weekend!

The weekend was loaded with work, insanity, new stock, did I mention work and insanity? 

Saturday we loaded up the truck and trailer, went to Gable motor sports for parts, and then went out to Waterville to pick up a beautiful trio of extremely large turkeys. From there it was a 2 hour drive back to the husband's grandparents, where we spent several hours fixing the rear wheel bearings on the 4-wheeler. Then the poor beast needed its air filter and oil changed. By the time we got that done, Peggy was tired and cranky and hungry. I was tired and cranky and hungry. And we were all three filthy as could be. We still had to make a trip to Lowes for lumber. See Jade kind of bought these turkeys, with no spare coop available. Taco Bell and KFC became our dinner/lunch choice, as it was "fast". By fast I mean BK was already closed, at 6 pm I might add, and we were all so sick o McD's that the thought made my stomach suddenly not so empty. We waited in the drive thru for over 45 minutes, but our food was fresh and piping hot so all was well. 

After filling our grumbling bellies we drove up the road to see about some screws, wood and such. Husband finally found a back up battery for his new drill. It is kind of a pain in the rear to be knee deep in some project, with only one battery for the drill. We got 2x6's, and 2x4's of multiple lengths, and headed back to the grandfolks to load the trailer, 4-wheeler and new turkeys back up and head home. Which brought us to our conundrum for the night. It was O dark 30, we had an exhausted 1 year old, and 3 birds with no place to sleep. Enter dog kennels. We put the 6 free birds in a big dog crate for the night, and the 3 turkeys in the   turkey tractor for the night. It was a workable short term solution.

Sunday morning I got up at the butt crack of dawn, and started chores. Did I mention I consumed a pot of very strong coffee by myself first? After the husband and kiddo arose, we went out to inspect the situation, and make some decisions. I had already had the brain blast idea, to move the sheep, which were part of the reason we were short a coop, as well the little sneaks have been living in the 3rd big coop since I got them. I had an empty stall, as Sonny was out on pasture for the day. So I ran them across the alley and put a pallet across the opening in the bottom of his stall door. A gap that a 1250 lb horse won't fit through, is not necessarily the same size gap that will keep a 100 lb spring lamb secure. 

Jade and I measured out our new pen. As it is only a temporary sheep pen, and will someday be boarded, reinforced and used for butcher hogs, we went 10.5x12, instead of the 10x10 we had intended. Cutting, placing, wiring, reinforcing, and hanging the gate took us about 2 hours. Then it was off for breakfast/lunch, and a run to the feed store, as I didn't have acceptable turkey feeders, waterers, feed, and was running low on shavings. That accounted for nearly another 2 hours, and we never did find a feeder for hay for the danged sheep. 

Once back at the farm we unloaded again...there was a lot of unloading done this weekend. We moved the sheep into the new pen, and started on the door for the turkeys new coop. The door is a nice big beast, well reinforced to try and keep our new babies as safe as possible. By the time we got that done, did night chores, and got back up to the house, it was dark again, and we were all grubby exhausted and ready to collapse. I ran to town for subs and chips, and we all curled up to watch some tv and relax. Peggy got a treat of cookies and juice for being such a big patient girl and really helping out in the barn. 

Now it is Monday, P has an appointment at 1 for shots. I am dragging, the husband is off delivering goods somewhere in Massachusetts, and now I have to start gearing up to do more pens this weekend, o and there is a poultry swap....what do normal folks do on their breaks?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Fall Fullness

It seems as if, every year, when it starts working on getting cooler, we are running around like crazy people. No matter how hard we worked all summer, we just can't get caught back up. Pens need to be built or repaired to hold stock that has been on pasture all summer. Flocks need to be thinned or re-arranged for the cold months. We are getting one last bast of warm, so I am holding off on harvesting the dredges of the garden. There are still some little peppers out there trying their best to grow. A few baby squash hold some promise, and there are a handful of tomato plants still working on their fruits. 

We had had hopes of getting a few apple and peach trees put in this fall. At this point I think it has faded to a dream for this year, and a plan for next spring. Things are just so crazy.

Yesterday we finally got the hood on my old jeep open. Darned thing was rusted right shut. I think the culprit for the problem was the radiator that blew 2 years ago. Alas my hood shall never be the same again, but frankly I use that poor SUV like it was a full sized pick up. Now to get the brake parts it needs, once we figure out exactly what they are, a new bell crank for the hood, and get the bugger inspected. I want my vehicle back!

Friday, October 02, 2015

End of Summer

Hard to believe the summer is already over. The chill is heavy in the air, we have a frost warning for tonight, the remainder of the peppers and tomatoes need to be grabbed so they make it into our freezer. 

We are doing our end-of-year button ups as quickly as we can. Jade has taken a couple extra days off, started with his "vacation" yesterday. We spent the day making repairs to his grandmother's old Jeep. It needed front brakes and a new exhaust system.  Today we are working on caulking windows in our bedroom and the kitchen, Once that is finished we are going to the lumber mill/yard and picking up the corner posts we need to start doing lamb/calf/hog pens. We want to get the first one built, and then we are going to move the lambs over to it and start re-doing the last chicken coop and move some birds around. Klondike the monster lamb is going for slaughter after the husbands next pay check. I love lamb and cannot wait to get some fresh in our freezer. It has been many many years since we had one to eat. We are down to one chicken in the freezer, I am thinking if my RIR rooster doesn't sell he will be joining it. 

For the last few weekends we have been cleaning out the old heifer barn. The last of the old pens were ripped out, and all of the old debris on the floor cleaned up and hauled out. Now we have a huge open area that is just waiting for cow and small critter pens. We were fortunate enough to get a lovely wooden gate from the husband's grandparents last night. We are going to short term use it for the sheep front pen, and after we get a long term gate built I am going to use it for the front on lambing jugs once we get a few ewes to breed and such.

Big plans are in the making, hopefully as summer winds down I can post again with frequency. For now though it is time to go do my chores. Horses and chickens and lambs are likely hungry. Have a lovely weekend folks!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Am I really seeing what I think I am seeing

Taken with my cell phone, so its a bit blurry

Mornings are my favorite time of day. Either the husband is off driving rig somewhere, delivering groceries and good, and P the wild is asleep, or they are both still resting and I can have a bit of quiet me time. This means sitting at the computer, coffee at my side, just resting for a few minutes, then tackling the multitude of chores that abound and delight me every day. The barn awash in morning glow from the sun, dew glistening like tiny diamonds bestowed upon the grass by some wealthy suitor, horses nickering for attention and feed (feed being their first request), chickens and turkeys and rabbits snuffling and clucking, and the lambs bellowing like old bulls fill my heart to the brim with joy at the new found day. 

This morning I took Sunny up to the paddock like so many mornings before, and there were the 2 cows that remain after decades of dedicated dairy farming. 8 years each they grazed peacefully, I stopped Sunny, just to look and feel the love for a life passed by, another small farm fallen to the burden of high taxes, low milk prices etc. Watching my lady Moon, and then turning to old Bama, 

I realized something just wasn't quite what it should be. 

 The joy of a new baby, and look at the rib on that old cow!

Small, perky ears, o that is a big fawn.

Wait a minute, since when do fawns come in black and white...Holy heck that is a calf! 

We thought Moon, if pregnant, should have calved back in late March or early April. I kept swearing my brain remembered a later breeding to the shorthorn bull we used to have. Promise. And sure enough I am not losing what few marbles were left in my tired mind. There bumbling behind the old girl was a bit of a heifer, at least a few days old, all dry and content, happy to trail behind her big black hided momma. I called mom and was literally incoherent with my joy. I've been missing cattle, and calves, to the point of driving my poor husband mad with my pleading for a bred heifer this fall. Now I need beg no more. We have a calf to raise to fill the freezer, and, once mom returns from camp so there is someone to watch the sprite that is my daughter, I have a cow to milk.  And a favored much beloved cow at that. The husband offered to, within reason, get me whatever bull I wanted to breed her with, in hopes of continuing my line of registered cattle. I believe I shall take him up on that offer.

Anyone know where I can find some Royland Jordan semen for a reasonable price?

Also these little beauties finally arrived. One little boy already thinks he rules the roost, and struts like a fool every time I open the brooder to check on them.