Sunday, June 21, 2009

They Are Outside!!!

Today was the day!
The lambs are OUTSIDE!!!
Woo Hoo!!
Sweet Husband and I hacked, chopped and mowed
a fenceline through the weeds and tall grass
and put up the electronet there, plugged it in
and viola! A fenced pasture.
I walked them out to the shaking of
the grain bucket and they are happily munching away.
It was a long walk of 250 feet
past very loud and active chickens,
but they did great.
Of course, I have to worry about getting
them back in again. But for now..
They are OUT!!!

Ok.. they went back inside the barn too!
Not one bit of trouble at all.
Happily trotted behind me into their
stall where they were rewarded with a pan of
mixed grains.
I bet they will sleep well with very full tummies tonight.
I am so very happy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Down Home in June

The world is lush and green
from all of the rain. Enjoy it now..
in August the yard is usually brown and crispy.
Above you will see a tiny segment of
the Barn.
I love our barn... today.
Some days I hate our barn
10,000 square feet of barn is a lot of barn.
Yep.. I said it.. 10,000 square feet.
250 ft long by almost 50 ft wide.
Wow. I still can't believe it.

My Great Grandfather's bee balm is starting to get
it's bloom on. I wish the computer came with
a smell function so that you all could experience
the musky, heady and deep fragrance.
It is wonderful.

And critters!!!
The ducks are getting huge
and so are the turkeys.
They move together in a strange flock
along with a varied group of chicks.
Oh, speaking of which I have to run out and herd
them inside. They stay out too late now that the days
are so very hot and the evenings are pleasant.
They wait until the shed is too dark and they are scared to go in...
silly fowl. Be right back....
It is so annoying to have to hunt the little clumps of
birds that are snuggled down in various parts
of the yard and herd them all into the potting shed.
And it is not like they huddle next to stuff.
They just pick a spot in the lawn and lie down
all together. I hope I got them all....
Sometime in the next few days we are doing
the Big Summer Chicken Shift.
We will suspend our breeding program,
put all of the hens together and pull out the roos.
That way all the girls can be out all of the time.
We will also separate all of the wee ones into
'sell and keep' pens.
The turkeys will all go together and the ducks
will go somewhere....
I bought the Premier One poultry netting stuff..
what crap.
It bags and sags and won't even stop a duck.
Forget about it stopping a dog or anything else.
I am sorely disappointed and out a lot of money too.
I will try to find a way to make it functional
since I own it now. But, I do not reccomend the stuff.

Though I have got to say

I love having the ducks and turkeys roaming around.

They are not destructive like chickens

and they are pretty to look at and eat a ton of bugs!

Those turkeys just snap flies right out of the air and

strip bugs right off of blades of grass. It is awesome.

And no scratching or digging.

I jokingly speak of getting rid of all of my chickens

and just going for turkeys and ducks.

I do believe that we will sell down the chickens a bit and we will definitely increase our

turkey and duck population, but I can't totally get rid of all chickens.

However, I did get rid of a bunch last week.

I butchered a group and sold several groups. Cool.

Birds off the payroll (feedroll, really)

Aaah. Turkeys. What's not to love?

And the lambs are still in the barn.
But, we are getting closer to pasture day.
As it stands I hand cut pasture and bring it to them twice a day.
They are not as skittish and I can touch them.
They have FINALLY agreed to eat some grain
and act excited about it. I practice getting them to follow me
and the grain tub.
I am so terrified of herding them out of the big, long barn
and having them bolt right through/over the electric fence
and just be gone forever. That would suck. Hard.
So, I keep working them and waiting for the great day.
I like the lambs though and get satisfaction at how far they have come.
They almost like being touched now and will lean into the skritches.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Response...

I am not computer savvy and I do not know how to link up my 'comments', but this is in response to a recent comment about the snake that ate a duck.
An anonymous poster was upset because I had killed the snake and showed concern about the future of wildlife in reference to occasional farm necessity.

If you read carefully you will see that we released 6 small snakes onto our property last year.
That is 6 new snakes.
You will also note that last year I rehomed a very large snake that was eating my eggs.
I carefully captured and moved him to a new location.

Of course, the rehoming of snakes is really just a delayed death as most snakes, no matter the size, do not survive being plonked down into a new territory. It may do fine. It may lose the confrontation with the in-resident snake. It may win the confrontation which would result in the death of the in-resident snake.

I killed the snake because it was eating my expensive livestock. Not the myriad of mice, chipmunks, voles and rats that abound here.
I killed the snake becaue it was taking food from my table and taking money from my pocket.
I killed the snake because it overdid and was not going to be able to digest that meal most likely.
It was already trapped within the pen when I got to it. It had overeaten to the point that it was no longer able to function properly and find safety.

We practice sustainable farming practices. And in doing so we actively sustain ALL life on the farm. ALL life is needed to have a healthy, balanced system.
We have no traps for rodents except for in the house because I just will not have droppings in my silverware drawer. Can't blame me there.
We do not poison insects here. All are welcome in the garden and the good balances the bad... except for squash bugs and they just win. I have the ducks for that, I hope.
But, just as in any healthy system, there is death when the balance is disturbed. A snake of that size is just a hazard and there needs to be corrections made.

I am not thrilled about killing the snake, but it happens.
And I look forward to those 6 little guys growing up healthy and happy here on our little space.

To all readers: I love comments, even ones that are unhappy at me. If there is confusion, I will do my best to clear the waters. I have put myself out here into the world and have no expectations of pleasing everyone all of the time.
Please continue to comment and thank you for reading about my life and experiences.
I do enjoy sharing with you all... my family gets sick of listening to me :)

Monday, June 8, 2009


Yippee! for me!
I have achieved lambs.
I have two Katahdin ram lambs.
And I met a wonderful shepherd
with great herding dogs.
I spent several hours working
the herd with him to get these two.
It was a great evening and I thrilled to
watch his dogs work.
I hope to go back one day and I
have pre-ordered some chocolate ewes
from next spring's lambing.
We shall see how this goes.
It will be our first time with sheep.
As a zookeeper in my earlier life
I am more accustomed to African
hoofstock than to domesticated
farm critters.
These boys are going to cut the grass
and then they will fill the freezer!
Lamb stew and herbed bread
on a cold winter's day.
I can't wait.
Oh and the ducks are growing
up quickly. We need to
drag over the bathtub so their pool
can be bigger. They are outgrowing this.
They still demand to stay in the potting
shed at night, so I must herd them back and forth
everyday. But they herd very easily..
much, much easier than chickens, so
it is not much of a problem. I actually enjoy
herding them.. they are so funny to watch
and are so happy when they reach their destination.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Turkeys love bossoms!

My turkeys hatched the other day.
I have feed store turkey poults,
but these are the first from my incubator.
Apparently they imprint on a person.
Even now they stand and call me..
bee bee boo... bee bee boo... bee bee boo.
They will all rush to try to huddle under my palm
if I stick my hand in the brooder
and ho, the joy!!, if I pull them out
and give them the boob.
I wrap my arms around them and
lay my head on my arms and I have
7 little bodies just trying to snuggle closer.
Eyes close. Bodies droop. And little pink
legs go all akimbo.
And I softly say,' hi turkey'
which has the same three notes
that they call and they all say... bee bee booo
softly back and snuggle deeper.
I love my food.


oh and there are some Polish in there too.
I hatched those for other folks.
They do not compare to poults
who love their mommy.

ok. So I just had to go grab the

runt that wouldn't hush up.

So now I type with a turkey tucked into shirt.

At least it shut up.

And we had a mini tragedy today.

About 2 months ago we hatched a freaky little chick.

It never grew. Ever.

2 months old and exactly the size of an egg.

It never grew feathers. Just a teeny tiny chicken

that was a perpetual chick.

It was doing fine though and hanging with the bigger chicks.

Yes, I did put a little pile of food down on the ground for it as the feeder,

which is all of an inch high, was too high for it sometimes.

But today the teeny tiny chick's step didn't get put down

and the chick couldn' t hop up onto the brick and get

into the potting shed and out of the rain.

It got wet and chilled and that was too much for it.

RIP teeny tiny chicken.

We grieve for the little chick. It was so freaky and such a trooper.


And we are having duck issues.

I have ten left.

The snake ate one and I sold 7

and have 4 more to sell off.

But they have a great new pen.

It's huge. It's fancy. It is filled with lush green-ness and a little swimming spot too.

Ducky paradise.

True, during the day.

But as the sun falls the ducks want back into the potting shed.

And every night they squeeze out of the electronet.. well, most of them do.

There is one that is just a bit too big to make it through.

And so, there it sits, stuck in an electric fence.

I am going to sell that one. It is going to end up fried in the head.

Stupid, cute ducks.

We are studying and figuring and thinking about how to deal with the escaping ducks.

It is an annoying problem.