We have had over 52 inches of snow so far this year so to get to the animals we have had to make trails through the snow. If one keeps walking the same path an ice trail builds up, but one step either way off the trail and you will find yourself up to your knees in snow.
Notice the trail on the trail, looks like someone else has been using these to get around.
Addison and the rest of the goats hate the snow, but every so often she gets the urge to run around. When that happens I just let her loose on the trails and she just runs and runs. The rest of her herd joins in and it leads great winter fun.
I don't know what has gotten into the chickens but we got 7 eggs today from 8 laying hens, a new record!
I have several family members that didn't need anything for Christmas but I still wanted to get them something, what was I to do? I searched the farmstead blogs for something unique and found the perfect selection over at Kenleigh Acres!
I contacted Shannon via email and asked if I mailed her Christmas cards with my relatives addresses could she include them with an order that she prepared - she said yes, no problem.
So my relatives ended up getting a wonderfully wrapped set of felted soaps, a felted bowl, and a Jacobs sheep wool ornament. They all loved the ensemble, and I did too! The Commander made sure that the order included one set for myself, and Shannon even included instructions on how to make my own felted soap. What a wonderful special touch on her part. I highly recommend Shannon's products, they are worth every penny.
The Commander surprised me by getting my very first spinning wheel, a Kromski Prelude. The above picture is from the Woolery web page where he ordered it. Mine still needs to be assembled, but I can't wait to try it with some of the wool Cat sent me.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a Happy New Year.
Katydid passed away last night and I have no reason why. The Commander said she was a little off yesterday when he put the sheep away but we had no reason to expect such a tragedy. She was a polled strawberry blond, so beautiful and my favorite. I will miss her and the other sheep keep looking around for her, very sad.
I hope to see her again in heaven, and I hope she enjoyed living here. Rest peacefully Katydid.
Merry Christmas! Our Christmas tree is decorated with old wooden ornaments, candy canes, beads, and a few bulbs. We like the old fashioned feeling it gives, its kind of warm.
The kids made sugar Christmas cookies today - yum. I will be making gingerbread cookies tonight, for Santa of course....
The chickens have been laying like crazy, 11 eggs in the last two days. We are eating them as fast a we can but they are piling up. I guess that is a good problem. Maybe it is the tip I picked from Lynn over at Razzberry Corner, she posted about feeding her hens spaghetti and that is exactly what I do every day at lunch. I mix in a little yogurt, so maybe that is helping them lay so much?
When I went out to feed and water the goats this morning they all had frost on their fur! I posted on the GoatSpot and was told to wory only if the started shivering, but I'm worried now. It was 20* below zero last night but I never imagined that this would happen to them. I rubbed them down and gave them grain and warm water. It is going to begin to warm up over the next few days with tonight being the last really cold one for a few days (at least). I can only imagine that when they finally drift off to sleep that they are dreaming of the warm Summer days gone by (above).
The big blizzard stalled out south of us so we didn't get any snow this weekend. In Minneapolis they got almost 24", so much that the roof of the MetroDome collapsed. Unfortunately the bitter cold didn't miss us, it has been almost 20* degrees below zero each of the past two nights. Gardenia doesn't look too cold.
I took Ohiofarmgirls advice about smaller more frequent feedings. From my experience I think the sheep like pretty much anything that has to do with "feedings".
Alder (middle) really enjoys being with the girls but is very leery whenever either myself or the Commander enters into the sheep area. I think he is worried that we are going to swap him out like we did Killarney!
The cold doesn't seem to faze Honey the House chicken. She still has the bandage still on her leg but I haven't noticed her limping one bit. The chickens really enjoy the hay leavings from the sheep, they dig around in it until it becomes dust.
The forecast for tomorrow is 8-12" of snow followed by temperatures dropping to as low as 20* below zero over night. Sunday is expected to warm all the way up the 2* above zero, a regular heat wave. Everyone got a new layer of hay in their bedding today, hope that helps keep them a bit warmer.
The chickens water container now sports a hat to help slow down the freezing process, hey whatever works.
The goats will venture out into the snow if I am there with them - looking for food of course. Thankfully they won't mess with the eggs. I picked up some old shirts from Goodwill today and will trying them on the goats tomorrow. I'm sure they will like it :), but if it keeps them a bit warmer it will have been worth it. Hopefully a few pictures tomorrow.
Sadness, that is the feeling around here today. Last night four guineas refused to sleep in the coop, preferring to remain outside, and that choice ultimately sealed their doom. This morning as the Commander was doing the normal feeding and watering he discovered their frozen headless bodies. It seems some predator took them one by one during the night, they just weren't smart enough to save themselves. We looked for tracks in the snow but couldn't find any, so we think it must have been an owl. Lost to us was the lone white guinea, two royals, and a lavender.
I am now worried that whatever dined here last night will return, I hope the remaining guineas all decide to spend their nights in the coop for a few days.
The remaining guineas haven't left the coop area today and were slow to leave the coop this morning. I am worried sick over their safety, and that of the chickens, but I can't make them get into the coop tonight.
They may be loud and they may chase the chickens but I love them, stay safe my guineas!
We want to put up our Christmas tree so it was time for Honey the House Chicken to transition outside. She has been laying an egg every other day and is only wearing a light wrap on her leg so it was time. When I checked on her today at the coop she had already laid an egg and seemed happy to be back among her own kind. Tonight will be her first night back in the coop, I hope she snuggles up warm with everyone else.
Killarney is the black ram on the top right of the picture, he was given the first opportunity to spend some quality time with the ewes. The seemed to like him and all, but it never seemed they liked him in a way more than a friend - if you know what I mean. Nothing ever seemed to happen. So Killarney was taken out and put back with the other rams.
After a suitable wait Alder was put in a pen in the ewe barn so they could take a look at him. He was not very nice, he even rammed the gate at one point.
When Alder was let out this morning he immediately gave chase to poor Gardenia and would not let up. She wanted to eat but he wanted other things, chasing after her and grunting and clicking his tongue. He "caught" her several times over the course of what seemed like an hour and finally let her eat in peace. The others had better watch out for him because Alder knows what he is supposed to do.
It was a little sad when we pulled Killarney out as Kia was the only ewe to follow us as we hauled him away. She followed us all the way to the gate and called to him, she was so sweet.
Last night it was -8 degrees F, so this morning it was too cold to do anything outside. Pictured are two pumpkin pies that I made, they were a big hit with Cool Whip. I will have to ask OFG is she makes a homemade version of Cool Whip with her goats milk.
This Winter has been hard on the trees. Several wet snowfalls followed by cold snaps have left the trees coated with frozen shells of ice, weighing many down beyond the breaking point. It makes for beautiful scenery but is hard on the trees.
Becca Boo and the sheep enjoy nibbling on fallen tree branches.
A few days ago I received a package from Cat over at Egg in My Pocket! Cat was kind enough to hold a contest over at her blog and I was one of the lucky winners!
When I opened the package I was very happy to find some fluff and some yarn.
The fluff was wonderfully soft and came in a yellow/red color. Cat wrote that it could be used for either spinning or felting. Since I currently do not know how to do either I am excited because I now have the materials to learn. I have an old spinning wheel and a friend that is willing to teach me - can't wait to give it a try.
The yarn is a "Mystery" blend that is very handsome and even has a few strands of glittery tinsel included. Cat tells me that she sent enough to make a scarf or a hat, so now I have to learn to knit too. I was planning on learning, and now I have the product to get me started.
This is my first post posted under the Wool label, the first of many to come.
One more surprise, last night we got another 8 inches of snow! The grand total for this Winter so far is 35 inches, looks like it is going to be a long one.
Honey the House Chicken has been acting crazy the past few days. The cabbage I hung yesterday was torn to shreds this morning, as was much of the newspaper lining the kennel. Honey would take turns either flapping her wings or tearing up MORE paper - constantly stomping around loudly with her limp, like some kind of wacky horror movie sound track. The constant noise would be occasionally broken up by a spasm of cackling that would drive the dogs from the room or under the table.
Turns out Honey was trying to build a nest and she produced her first egg, oops.
I got some spare hay that the sheep refused to eat and packed it into a box top to make a nest like container for her to lay in. She is quieter now, but she still likes to decorate the nest with more newspaper.
The shipping box in the hay is a gift from Cat. I will unveil the surprise tomorrow!
Now that I have to replace frozen water buckets twice a day I needed to find a way to lug them through the snow. A snow sled works perfectly! I now have a "bobsled run" between the sheep, goats, and chickens.
Once the water is delivered the sled can be used for sledding with goats. Here is Gidget having fun with my daughter!
Honey the house chicken is now walking around and causing trouble. Whenever I open the kennel she tries to escape, and she actually has a few times. Water - spilled. Food - spilled. I tied up a hunk of cabbage from the top of the kennel to keep her occupied, I think she is getting bored. It won't be long till I take off her cast and then she will be off to the garage to begin the transition back to the coop.
Yesterday evening the temperature dropped to 2 degrees with a high of 9 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. Today the low was 5 degrees with a high of 19 degrees. The windchill was a brisk -15 degrees!
We have had 4 storms this November here in NE Minnesota that have dropped 4 inches of snow or more. For goodness sakes it isn't even December yet. I was worried about the animals making it through the Winter this year but this is ridiculous.
With this in mind I give you the following video, enjoy.
Sorry about Florida and Big Oaks Farm Mary but there will be plenty of room for you up here!
I have so much to be thankful for; loving family, full tummy, goats full of mischief, growing sheep, egg laying chickens, snuggling cats, boisterous dogs, warm fire, wonderful country, and a happy life.
It was 2 degrees last night and I am inside by the fire warm with my family, hope you are having as good a Thanksgiving as I am!
Hurray, the chickens rewarded me with one egg this morning and a second egg this afternoon! I am fairly sure that one of they layers is Lucy, my lone Rhode Island Red. The eggs are a little small but from what I have read that is to be expected.
The eggs didn't last long, my daughter wanted to be the first one to try them so she had fried eggs for dinner (with yogurt and mandarin oranges of course). She said they tasted great, better than those old store eggs - we'll see.
The rest of us had homemade chicken pot pie. I made it as a special request for the Commander, he says he loves it.
One note on Honey, the house chicken. To stop her from getting lonely I turn the TV to the Malt Shop Oldies channel to give her something to listen to, I think she likes it - the Commander does.
Today while I was out feeding the chickens I made a bitter-sweet discovery in the coop, four eggs. These were the first eggs that our chickens have produced, but sadly, one was crushed, two were cracked, and the last one was frozen.
Neither myself nor the Commander have been checking the egg boxes for eggs, so I'm not exactly sure when the laying began. With winter here in full force I didn't think they would begin laying until next spring.
Once I discovered the eggs I went and got fresh straw for the egg boxes and plan to check on them twice daily from now on. The next egg will be a Kodak moment, I'm sorry the first four were wasted.
The house chicken, Honey, is continuing to mend. Just yesterday the Commander commented; "Wouldn't it be funny if the house chicken laid the first egg." Too late!
Before the snow arrived we took the last of the leaves and placed them as bedding for the rams in their shelter. I hope it provides them with a little insulation.
To try and slow down the water freezing process I took an old tire and stiffed it with leaves. It works OK, but the bucket still ices over.
Frozen water buckets are the biggest problem we have right now and I have no answers. Ideas??? (no electricity)
The house chicken is now putting light pressure on her leg. I have decided to change her dressing every other day. Her favorite thing is to look at herself in the mirror! Oh, she has a name now, the Commander caught me calling her "Honey". She better live!
The goats don't go outside much now that there is snow on the ground. I really like how shaggy their fur has gotten, isn't Becca Boo cute?
When I opened the door the other day the goats took off like they were on a mission.
It was strange because they ignored the snow even though at times it was up to their bellies. I was curious as to what they were up to, and it soon became obvious.
They wanted into the garage! They could have wanted the grain that was stored in there but I think they wanted in the garage because they think it may be warmer. "I'm not letting you in, the barn is fine!"
I am an Ocicat. My duties include; security (rodents), counter intelligence (predators), infiltration (sneaking) and night surveillance.
I live in NE Minnesota on 10 wooded acres with; my best friend Mocha, three dogs, chickens, Guinea Hens, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Cascade Sheep, Icelandic sheep, and a few humans.
When we moved here it was completely wooded, our plan is to turn this property into a working homestead.