Saturday, May 29, 2010

Finally.... we have Eggs!

For weeks my husband has been asking me, "When we will get some eggs?" Good question. I kept telling him, "Soon, I hope!" Today I was working in one of the chicken coops, bent down to spread some pine shavings, and about fell over when I saw two little eggs in the nest boxes. Yea!!! We have eggs!!!

They are kind of little so I'm thinking one of the Silkie hens laid them. I haven't been in the coop for a few days and it's been hot outside, so we probably won't eat these. But you can bet I'm going to be searching every day from now on! I cannot wait to eat our first farm fresh egg from my very own chicken.

We also have some new babies.... three little baby geese. And after the babies were born, it seems like geese have been flocking to our ponds from everywhere. Instead of the two we usually have, now we have about 30 swimming around. I would rather just have the original two and the little babies. Geese are kind of messy. And I have enough poop to deal with from all the other animals I chose to have.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stormy weather

I woke up on Monday morning and heard the local news discussing this horrible storm that tore through Greenwood County the previous night, causing lots of damage. I live in Greenwood County but I didn't remember a storm. Then they gave the location of the damage and I gasped.... right where the farm is located. Yikes!

We headed straight out, my 5-yr old daughter and me, praying that everything and everyone was in one piece. I was encouraged at first coming down the very long and winding drive. But the closer I got to the animals, the more I noticed that things were no longer where they used to be. Chicken coops over, chickens running everywhere, miscellaneous furniture blown all over the place. The Donkey Pasture was suddenly the recipient of my large well cover, the lawn mower cover, a rocking chair and a few other items. It was also missing the donkeys. I found them wandering around the back of the property, all in one piece thankfully.

Our little farm house sustained a lot of damage. My beautiful futon swing, heavy and metal, was carried about 2 acres uphill and left in pieces. My grill even moved all the way across the deck and only stopped because it smashed into the rest of my deck furniture. Somehow my little orchard survived with only a few apples toppled off one tree. Even the blueberries were unscathed.

A few hours later, and with the help of Big Dwain, our new farm guy, we uprighted what we could and set things somewhat back to normal. A little sweet feed helped me coerce the donkeys back to where they belonged. The goats seemed fine, even the new babies. Thankfully the worst of the damage was downhill from all the animals and they were somehow protected. My chicken coops are repaired, dinged up but functional, and all the chickens are safe. I said a prayer of Gratitude to the Lord for watching over our animals and for sparing so much of what we've worked so hard on these last few months. My husband should be proud that our hand-built chicken run survived without any hint of damage! Woo hoo!!!

Our entire property is pasture land which makes for lots of wind and nothing to block it.  It's rather hilly, okay... it's very hilly, and I'm sure that will help in the future. Still... once was enough.

The local news reported the next day that it was not a Tornado. Just very heavy straight line winds of up to 80 miles an hour. Oh, is that all??? I'm so glad we weren't out there. I would have been so scared, and if I would have been scared, I know the kids would have been!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Barns & Coop are coming!

I realize that I have a Chicken Problem. And it's not just me. I've corrupted my poor children too. A few little chicks. A few hatching eggs. An incubator. And the addiction was born. Chickens! Who knew what great pets they are??? Funny little fuzzballs, pecking our feet, sitting on our laps, making us laugh. And we haven't even gotten any eggs yet!

At the moment, we have 61 chickens (including the 9 chicks on my dining room table). My poor husband keeps asking me what my Master Plan is for Chickens. Sadly, or happily depending on whether you are Him or Me, I don't think I have a Master Plan. We're just enjoying our chickens.

You may remember that we have two coops and we spent a lot, a lot of time building the chicken run. Finally it was done. My husband breathed a sigh of relief and looked forward to life without Chicken Work. So I can understand his look of Disbelief when I announced we needed another coop and run.

Sorry, sweetie! All the chicks are getting big and I realize I need to separate the Large Ones from the Small Ones. The big ones pick on the little ones, and the Silkies can't even really see half the time so they need their own space to relax. They can't possibly all be together. We need another coop. And another run. You understand, right? Picture me looking very adorable and adoring, using any feminine wifely wile I could think of to plead my case.

Okay... no, he didn't understand... just glared at me, asking about my Master Plan.

It took a few weeks, but I have managed to convince this sweet and tolerant man that we must have a chicken coop. Yippee! It's ordered and will be here next week and matches our first coop with the swing. My Amish friend Ron is also very tolerant and is customizing the playhouse into a coop for me, complete with nest boxes, roosts, doors, extra windows.... at no additional cost. Thanks, Ron!

 I also talked Husband into shelters for the goats and donkeys. He was at a weak point so I went for it all. Our little barns will arrive early next week, followed by my new coop.

Now, about that chicken run..... Uh.... Excuse me while I try to find my husband. He seems to have disappeared.

And then there were 12.

Yesterday afternoon, our little goat Happy was off by herself in the pasture, lying down among the swaying grass. I could just make out her horns off in the distance as she readied herself for her baby. I looked at my sweet little baby and told her that Happy was getting ready to be a Mom. Since this is our 6th new kid in four months, and since I've been paying attention to the workings of my animals, I've noticed that when these little mommies are ready to deliver, they go off by themselves, far away from the rest of the herd.

Sure enough, this morning Happy stood guarding her new little baby, a beautiful little white kid. So now we have twelve goats. Hmmmm... in January, we had seven goats. Then they started multiplying.  We really need to pause a moment and figure out this goat situation. They were there on the farm when we arrived and so they stayed. I think it's safe to say that we do not want 100 goats. At this rate, we might have that many by Fall. :) Time to take a long look at our Goat Future and make some tough decisions.

In the meantime, we'll enjoy looking at our little herd while staying out of the way of spiky horns.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A morning visitor

The children and I went out on Saturday morning to discover this big boy next to the house. He was about 2 feet long and a foot wide, with a wrinkly neck and long tail. My son announced it was a snapping turtle and we should stay away. Having never seen a snapping turtle, I couldn't refute or agree with this declaration but I didn't want to find out the hard way!

Of course my son had to run into the house to get his DSI hand-held game thing because it has a camera and he desperately wanted to record this moment. I'm not sure how great his pictures turned out though since he refused to let anyone near Mr. Turtle. Luckily my camera has a zoom.

Mr. Turtle glared at us for several minutes and posed for a few pictures. Then he looked around, gave me the Stink Eye, and headed off at a quick pace for the pond.

See you later, Alligator,  Turtle!

Here is a picture of the Common Snapping Turtle. Was our early morning visitor a Snapper? Maybe. I'm not a Turtle Expert but it's close enought that I'm glad we didn't get too close.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The new donkey

Brownie has been very protective of her little baby and it took us 5 days to get them back where they belong. She still doesn't let the daddy near the baby but that may change soon. The little one is running everywhere! All are doing well and the little donkey is just adorable!

We also found out that we have a wonderful irrigation system! The 5 acres around the animal area, orchard, and vegetable garden is fully irrigated with sprinklers. The installers came out last week and fixed the pump for us and now we have beautiful water greening up everything.

It will save so much time watering! Not too mention all the money we didn't have to spend. I'm hoping to get a spigot installed over near the chicken coops next week which will save me so much time.

Grandmother came for a long visit over Mother's Day. Now that the chicken run is finished, we can sit inside and enjoy the chickens. Looks like Grandmother kind of liked them!

I know we do!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We have a baby donkey!

Arrived at the farm today and found an empty donkey pasture. That's the first time the donkeys haven't been where they are supposed to be. A quick look around found them on a hill at the back of the farm. We decided to let them be out for the day since the entire farm is fenced and they weren't going anywhere.

Tonight I realized I hadn't seen them for several hours so I set off on a hunt. We haven't mowed the back of the farm and the grass is knee-high and worse. Doesn't make for easy walking! Plus our farm is hilly, with lots of hidden little valleys. It takes a long time to search everywhere.

I finally found the donkeys at the very back of the farm. The sun was shining in my eyes as it began to set, but I thought I saw an extra pair of ears by Brownie, our girl. Yes, there was an extra set of ears! Brownie had her baby!!! And boy, is it cute! I guess that explains the unusual escape. She needed some privacy to give birth. I didn't get too close, especially after I saw her kicking at Cookie when he tried to investigate his new baby. Brownie and the little baby look fine. The baby was walking around and jumping a little. It's amazing how big it is and how these animals walk, eat and play the day they are born. Our vet had expressed some concern about Brownie being too young and small to give birth. I'm so happy she did it successfully and on her own!

I decided to give Brownie her needed privacy. Hopefully tomorrow they will show back up in their pasture where the food and fresh water is (on their own, I pray!). I opened up one of the gates. I have no idea how they got out but the little baby doesn't need to be doing any fancy moves to get home. I can't wait to take some pictures of the new addition to the farm!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A new kid!

We have a new little goat! Bashful had her baby this morning and mother and kid are doing well. I'm always amazed at how big the babies are when they are born. I don't know where the mother keeps them! Happy looks ready to delivery any time too, so we may have another little one born anytime.

Life on the farm is moving along at a quiet and comfortable pace. Our little roosters have started crowing and you can hear them as soon as dawn begins to break. Everyone is growing, eating, chirping, living. We have been working hard, hard, hard on Chicken World. Our run is finished and we are busy putting the finishing touches on the surrounding areas. Unfortunately we have outgrown the two coops we have and I'm hoping that my husband will give in and let me have another coop. It took us about a month to finish the run. He's not looking forward to that process again.

On a happy note, our new silkies arrived last Friday! The new Toffee has arrived and my daughter said it was the best day of her life to have Toffee back again. We also got a beautiful Splash Rooster and Hen, a black Hen, and 10 little babies.

It's all turning out just like I pictured it would. My silkies and cochins can run around in safety all day long, and boy do they! As soon as I open their little door in the morning, they all come tumbling out.

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