Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dramatic Rescue!

The Incident: Attempted Sheep Drowning by Dog

The Culprit:  Lambchop, newly acquired 6-month old rascal. Loves to chase. Doesn't come when called. Won't mind his owners.... yet. He looks innocent and playful, but does a hardened criminal lurk inside?

The Victim: Innocent Mr. Ram, minding his own business in the pasture, never knowing that the next few minutes could mean the end of his life at Huckleberry Farm.

The Scene of the Incident: The middle pond of Huckleberry Farm, next to the resident pasture of the victim. Beautiful, yes. But potentially deadly for those who can't swim.


The Hero: Cole, the handsome and fearless Farmer (the man and not the donkeys!). The Huckleberry of Huckleberry Farm.
According to the Huckleberry Farm Incident Report, around 1:oo pm on the warm and sunny afternoon of October 26th, the dog-in-question, Lambchop, managed to sneak into the fenced pasture where the victim resides. After chasing the victim and his 34 fellow residents around the pasture and eluding the loud shouts and chase of the Farmer, our victim, Mr. Ram, made the mistake of running the opposite way of the rest of the herd. Lambchop immediately zeroed in on Mr. Ram and began to give chase, scaring Mr. Ram and the Farmer (although to be fair, probably Mr. Ram more). Mr. Ram, in an effort to evade the ever-closer Lambchop, ran headlong into the pond, forgetting in the chaos of the moment that he is not a strong swimmer. But in he went, desperate to end this endless romp. Did Lambchop give up the chase? Oh, no, he did not! In went Lambchop after Mr. Ram, swimming after him and laughing gleefully at Mr. Ram's pitiful attempt at dog-paddling.

Our Hero advises that at this point Mr. Ram attempted valiantly to keep his head above water while Lambchop hung onto Mr. Ram in a very unkind way. Was Lambchop trying to drown Mr. Ram? The report is uncertain and eye witness reports inconclusive. Luckily for Mr. Ram, our Hero is quick-thinking. After smartly throwing his cell phone and wallet to the ground while running full-speed to the pond (not an easy task in itself), our Hero dove into the pond, fully dressed, disengaged Lambchop from Mr. Ram, got Mr. Ram's head above water and towed him slowly, but successfully, to safety. Once on land, Mr. Ram did not appear to be breathing. Our amazing Hero performed life-saving actions on Mr. Ram (since I do kiss this Hero/Farmer, I prefer not to know what specific life-saving actions were taken), silently encouraging him to live, and praying that poor Mr. Ram would take a breath. Suddenly.... Mr. Ram raised his head, coughed up a mouthful of water, stood up on shaky legs, and met the eyes of his Rescuer. What passed between the Farmer and the Ram is known only to those two, but we can all imagine the life-affirming intensity of this moment.

As of the writing of this report, Mr. Ram is back with his herd, wobbly but alive. The Farmer is clean and showered, has found his phone and wallet, and is resting happily in the glory of his afternoon of adventure, knowing that a life has been saved thanks to his courage and effort. And Lambchop... well, Lambchop is in the doghouse.... literally. Punishment to be determined at a later date.

Certified SC Grown

Huckleberry Farm is now a member of the Certified SC Program. 

From the websiteThe Certified South Carolina program is a new, exciting cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) to brand and promote South Carolina products. Our goal is for consumers to be able to easily identify, find and buy South Carolina products.

Certified South Carolina is a call to action for South Carolina citizens as we ask you to

Buy South Carolina because Nothing's Fresher. Nothing's Finer.

So get your beautiful, South Carolina eggs from Huckleberry Farm! We are very excited to be a part of this program and hope you will buy SC products ( or the products in your state!).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lambchop is here

Both of the children have birthdays in the coming weeks and we made a family decision to get them dogs. Of course, they promised repeatedly that THEY will take care of them, but us parents know the truth. A trip to the Humane Society resulted in two dogs being adopted. Lambchop, a 6-month old Pit/Terrier mix, hopped in the car for the ride home to the farm. Bear needs to have his "surgery" done, so he won't be home until Thursday.

The ride home was uneventful (thankfully!). Lambchop loves to have his head hanging out the window. Our current two dogs sniffed Lambchop and went about their business. Lambchop is not a barker for which I'm endlessly grateful! Lots of things to bark at in the middle of the night on a farm. We had a few minutes of fighting over bones and food but overall, things went pretty smooth.

I really hope Bear's arrival goes just as smoothly and all four dogs will coexist happily together. We'll see.... 

Lambchop did seem very interested in my chickens and was running up and down the outside of the run looking at them. We had a serious talk about what is for Lambchop and what is not for Lambchop. Hope he listened.

I love mornings on the farm!

Waking up to this view + a hot cup of coffee with Gingerbread Latte creamer = Perfection!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crazy Sweet Potato!

No rain in the last two months combined with the end of the growing season made my garden pitiful. I admit that I kind of lost interest in it and just walked past it on the way to other places. Until the other day when my husband and kids decided to go in and see what the chickens might like to munch on for a treat.

I heard my husband yelling for me and when I arrived at the garden, he was holding up a pretty big sweet potato. Beyond big. Just ridiculous! Maybe I was supposed to harvest them before now. I might have forgotten about them! Okay, I did forget about them.

We tried to cook one but it didn't turn out very well. Very tough. We were going to give them to the chickens to eat until I read that the uncooked peels are dangerous to them. So... any ideas what to do with a whole big bunch of tough, overgrown sweet potatoes??? Yeah, me neither.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More eggs in the bator!!

The incubator is back up and running! I just set 11 beautiful dark brown eggs in it: Splash and Black Copper Marans. Unfortunately several broke during shipping but that's the harsh price of having eggs shipped. Hopefully the remaining eggs are not damaged. We'll know more at the first candling in about 7 days. Fingers crossed! I would really really love a Splash Maran! I have an 11-wk old Splash Ameraucana that I'm praying is a girl. So far, I'm on the fence. Hard to tell with those Ameraucanas.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Special moments

I lost my Grandmother when I was 24. Beautiful, giving, patient. She embodied the qualities everyone wants in a Grandmother. My sisters and I would hide her shoes when she came to visit. We didn't want her to leave. She was the anchor in a storm of childhood chaos, a safe harbor where you could get a hug and a quiet moment. After 21 years, I still think about her often. Especially since she was the only person in my family to embrace chickens.

Now I have two children. My parents are no longer alive and we lost my father-in-law suddenly three years ago. My children do have one grandparent and she's wonderful! Thankfully she just moved to the town we live in and now we can see her much more often. The relationship with a grandparent (a good grandparent) is so special. I'm very grateful that my children have a good one.

Time with Grandmother is full of special moments. I hope my children cherish them and remember them.

And just between you and me, she's the mother I never had. And I love her very much. But let's just keep that quiet. No point in her getting a big head.

Another beautiful morning

Since we've had the farm, I've realized how much of the world I've been missing. Living in a neighborhood, in a city, surrounded by trees and houses, it's impossible to see the beauty that God gives us each day. His mercies are new every morning!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm so excited!

Huckleberry Farm is now a certified Wholesale Egg Distributor in South Carolina! Woo hoo!!! I have the license and everything. And I may have my first retail client. I just ordered the labels for our cartons and I'm in love with them!

In honor of this very exciting and thrilling event, I decided to celebrate by getting more chickens! I have 30 more little Easter Eggers coming. They should be feathered out by the time it gets really cold and be ready to start laying in the Spring. Right when the frenzy hits for Huckleberry Farm eggs..... okay.... I may be getting a little carried away.

Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE CHICKENS!!!!!!!?????

Friday, October 8, 2010

Our foster donkeys

We are fostering (and hoping to adopt) 35 big-horn sheep. These beautiful creatures were abandoned on a farm nearby and needed a home. Huckleberry Farm to the rescue! I just love watching them cruising around the pasture.

We are foster parents to these lovelies while all the legal stuff is worked out. We hope they will be free to be adopted soon and the plan is for us to keep about eight. We wanted to keep all of them but apparently there's a waiting list. Don't want to be a Sheep Hog!!

Unfortunately, coyotes are running wild through our area. We used to hear them far off in the distance every now and then. Now it's a nightly sound, earlier and closer. Enter.... Snowflake and 38! These guys watch over the herd and everything else. My donkeys live in the pasture across the driveway and spend a lot of time staring at these new arrivals. I can just hear Cookie saying, "What are YOU doing here? This is our farm!".  The two sets of donkeys spend quite a bit of time talking (baiting?) each other. Bray, bray to the left. Hee Haw to the right. Good gracious! They're worse than the roosters!

This cutie is Snowflake.

And this cutie is 38. I was told not to ask why he's called 38, so I didn't. Me thinks 38 might need to lose a few pounds or he might get a new name...

This morning, the donkeys took a break from Sheep Saving and had a little fun.

 I have never seen my donkeys doing this! It was awesome!

Since the growing season is just about over, I cleaned out much of what's left in the vegetable garden and took it all to the chickens. Boy, were they happy chicks!!! Mushy watermelons, canteloupe, tomatoes..... they were in Chicken Heaven.

Thank you, Mama!!!

My sweet little Boo came over to give me a personal thank you, complete with her floppy comb and bewildered look. Not only is she sweet, but she lays the most beautiful chocolate brown eggs!

My magnificent rooster, Butterscotch, made the rounds, watching his girls eating with joy. He's beautiful. And gentle. Two things I like best in a rooster.

Speaking of eating with joy, it's lunch time and I'm starving!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Never a good sign...

I was pulling up the driveway this morning and saw a huge flock of buzzards in with the goats. Uh oh. Buzzards are never a good sign, especially when there are a bunch of them. My goats were all huddled up in the front corner and I quickly counted them. Yesterday there were 11. Today there were 10. Dang.  I didn't walk to the back of the pasture to see. With the amount of buzzards there, I'm sure my little goat was gone. We've been hearing lots of coyotes and are fostering two donkeys in with our sheep to protect them. Since the sheep aren't technically ours yet, the Animal Rescue want to be sure they stay safe.

We do have three donkeys of our own but they trample our goats, so they are in separate pastures. You would think that since they are side-by-side and basically touch noses all day long, the donkeys and goats would be friends. But they're not. One of my little babies squirmed through the fence a few months back and Brownie trampled her in no time. Of course, in Brownie's defense, she had just had a baby but still....

My little girl goat was fine yesterday. I don't think she was sick. It was probably a predator, probably a coyote. I hate losing animals!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Love the weekends!

My poor Huckleberry has been gone week after long week on business. The children have had just about enough of my face and only my face! They sure do miss their Daddy. When you have less than 48 hours of family time before the next flight, what do you do??? Head to the farm!

What a great weekend! Looking for gold, hiking, kayaking, bon fires, football.... and cooler weather! Have I mentioned how much I love the cooler weather? Okay.... a few times. I wish it could stay fall all year round. It's perfect!

This little girl is happy her Daddy is home!

Teaching that rascally Toby to fetch. Lost cause. I knew it would be. He only wants to do things that are wrong. Now sweet Blue, on the other hand, is a great dog. Of course, he's old, deaf and half blind, but he's hanging in there! And he knows how to shake.

Taking a break for a book.

The morning dawned cool, crisp and misty. I just love how the mist hangs heavy over the ponds.

Can't wait until this weekend! My Huckleberry will be home and he can show off his man skills by finding the huge snake that has been spotted by the house. I did my farm chores in record time today! I had no intention of running into Mr. Snake. Food, water, eggs.... see ya! No chicken cuddles today. I absolutely, positively, no question HATE snakes. Hate them. I cannot believe that one showed up to torment me on my very own farm. Cole promised me he would find it this weekend. I'm sure he will then try to convince me that it's a "good snake" and we should keep it. Blech. We have over 100 acres. Does the snake really have to be right where I am? Apparently so. A new pair of snakeskin shoes sound good about now. :)

Flowers and Butterflies

Brrrr.... the mornings sure are crisp all of a sudden! And I love it! Before my flowers and butterflies leave for the winter, I captured them on film to admire during the cold, brown months ahead. Next year I hope to plant a huge, beautiful flower garden. I'll be dreaming about it until Spring!

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