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Friday, December 30, 2011

Chickens and Eggs


The chickens are not getting along very well with the guineas this Winter. The guineas bully all the hens (except for the hen they think is their mother), always eat first, and take the best locations in the waste hay from the goat and sheep pens. Leopold doesn't do a very good job of protecting his girls but seems to enjoy being the King of the Guineas.


One day I decided to put a few sticks through the fence to see if the guineas would give the chickens a break by perching up off the ground. Turns out the chickens love the perches and spend vast amounts of time snuggling safely away from the guineas.


The guineas still perch above them on the fence line or in the trees, but the perches have really reduced the anxiety level in the coop area.


The chick that was born in late Fall seems to have started laying this week. I am amazed that I have noticed this - the shape of the egg gives it away.

Back in the days of store bought eggs the eggs all seemed to look alike, I never noticed much difference in the eggs in any particular carton. When I look at eggs now I can see that everyone is unique to its hen, and the hen always seems to lay eggs that look roughly the same. The new hens' egg is on the left and is smaller and light brown.  The egg next to it is tall and thin, lighter in color.  Lucy lays the darkest brown eggs with spots while Honey lays fat thick medium brown eggs.  I am shocked that I can associate the egg with the hen, amazing!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tidings of Comfort and Joy


I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year! Nothing says happiness like Christmas sugar cookies.


It is also so much fun decorating them together as a family. Those cookies that survive the frosting process (i.e. don't get eaten "raw") really look Christmas-ey!  Cookies are a comfort food as well.


Young band members getting ready to play in their first Christmas concert can bring their parents a lot of joy, I know it worked for me.


video



It isn't the Philharmonic but I think it is quite good for the local 7th grade band.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fading Dreams


On Friday I found Jeepers and her daughter Alma dead in the barn. Jeepers was bleeding from the mouth and it looks like the breeding ram Ironwood killed them. They were both healthy less than two hours before, I have no other explanation.

He was getting more and more aggressive with the humans and the ewes so the plan was to remove him on Saturday - I was a day too late. I have never read about this type of behavior occurring yet there can be no other explanation.

The atmosphere around the ewes was oppressive with Ironwood in there, I'm not sure that any of the breeding's with the four remaining ewes took. There may be no lambs this Spring. In the girls current condition I am afraid to introduce the clean-up ram, they seemed depressed with the loss of their leader (Jeepers).

The four ewes remaining are mother daughter pairs. I only have two blood lines left, it makes me sad. Introducing new blood into the flock would be the easy solution except that the breed isn't readily available.

What is one lost breeding season? I was hoping to have 9 lambs this Spring to add to my existing 6 ewes, now I have four ewes and possibly no lambs, a lost season is a lifetime. I am pondering waiting to see if I get any lambs, or I could change over to Icelandic's or Jacob's, or maybe I'll just expand the goat herd. It is hard brightening up a fading dream, but I'm not going to give up.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Molly Christmas


Meet Molly Christmas. She is my Christmas gift to the Commander this year.


I got her for the Commander to be a counter part to Sara. Sara is great at the difficult task of herding goats, but she is just too scared of the sheep to be much help. This is where hopefully Molly comes in, when the sheep see how ferocious she is herding them will be easy.


Molly is an Blue Merle Australian Shepherd. She has one blue eye, one brown eye, and a greyish blue coat with black spots. Add in just a touch of brown on her front quarters and muzzle and you have one beautiful girl.


Right now Molly sleeps in a clothes basket. At her previous home she slept outside so she spends a lot of time panting while she is inside, I guess the house is just too hot for her.


I have just started potty training her, but since she is the Commanders gift he gets to take her out for the 2 am potty runs.....its what he wanted, really!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Find the Hidden.........


Nope, not the electrical cords.


Not the hanging beads.



What is it about the Christmas tree that makes the cats want to spend their days in it?


I find Christmas ornaments all over the house every morning, Mocha and Chai Chai seem to just love Christmas. I bet they have some great TAILS to tell....ha, ha, ha......or Ho, Ho, HO!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Card


Merry Christmas Sam. We miss you and Pierson too!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hello Livonia Michigan!


Sometimes you don't know what you are looking for until you find it. A friend of mine who I used to work with called me today from Livonia, Michigan. We chatted about old times and she caught me up on the all the happenings at my old place of work. I was surprised when she mentioned my recent adventure with the Fox. I had no idea that folks from work were reading my blog.

Hello Everyone!


My friend, who only knew me as a city girl, asked if the Commander had a farming background....I told her he didn't. When I related the story to the Commander later he said that my answer was not true, he stated that he spent a lot of time working with a Fischer Price Farm set. We both laughed and laughed!


He later added that the See n Say was one of his all time favorites...."The cow goes - Moooo! Here is a Duck - Quack Quack Quack!" That was the extent of his farm experience, yet here we are.

My friend told me that everyone loved to hear about my adventures and that they often had a difficult time imagining me actually living this kind of life. No one there would have ever imagined in their wildest dreams that one day I would be; birthing goats, herding lambs, eating my own chicken eggs, or firing a shotgun at a rabid fox.

My mother told the Commander during her last visit that I was her city girl and she was shocked at how happy I was living in the middle of nowhere surrounded by all these animals. This was never a dream of mine and yet here I am living it, and I can't put into words how happy I am.

So once again, "Hello Livonia! I have a little advice for everyone. Don't be afraid to change course when the moment arrives. It may be safe to stay on the traveled path but what adventures are you missing just beyond the horizon? The life I am living is not one I could have ever imagined so no amount of pre-planning could have gotten me to this destination. If you aren't truly happy then you need to change course and find your way...wherever it takes you."

Anyone else out there wake up one day and ask themselves; "How in the world did I end up here and find myself exactly where I belong?"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What kind of a flock IS this?


Leopold is the rooster in charge of the coop area and he has his hands full trying to keep order. Look at the picture above. In it you will see; a Rhode Island Red, Lavender male and female guineas, a Dark and Light Royal guinea, a few Golden Laced Red Wyandottes, and Leopold. A few of the guineas think they are chickens, one of the chickens thinks it is a guinea.....chaos, its pure chaos.

Little chicken squabbles break out on occasion and Leopold rushes in to break things up, but what is he supposed to do when several guineas are chasing chickens...except for the chicken that thinks its a guinea? Or how does he handle the chicken that the guineas think is their mama? Did I mention that all the guinea males follow Leopold around like he is their king?


Last year Leopold suffered a bit of frost bite, by looking at him you can see why. As it gets colder Leopold spends more and more time inside the coop and at times you can hear the sounds of wrestling going on in there. I can only assume he is trying to keep or establish some kind of order, I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hay


In the month of November we had three deliveries of hay; they included 72 grass bales and 50 and 65 bales of Timothy mix. So divided up in the three lofts are 187 bales.


I have 6 ewes and one ram munching hay in the main sheep area.


Since there are too many sheep to fit around the hay bowl I sneak a few piles of hay into the inside bowl for the little girls.


Five goats spend their time wasting more hay than they eat in the goat shed.


The two bachelor rams are the most efficient and they eat everything I put in their bowl, except for the hay that they decide to wear. I wonder if I have enough hay to make it to Spring?