I know I should write about events as they happen here on the farm, but I don't always have the luxury. It has been a full spring and summer, and among the many things that kept me moving during that time was tending to the bed and breakfast, mowing grass, planting and watering flowers, working on the caboose and building the deck, operating the thrift shop along with two big sales, refining the Lavender Tea Room space and helping Sandra with a number of teas, getting the pond ready for the liner, unloading the railroad ties and contemplating the location and size of the raised flower bed, working on the outbuildings, and last but not least, tending to the resident critters who inhabit and create an interesting, pleasant world. There have been changes to the animal population here on the farm, some good, some bad. But overall, if everyone is happy, life is good.
Horse of Course! Glory Be!
Peanut and Popeye
stock on the stand in the spring, and I know they have grown over the summer. Different measures will need to be taken when I shear him next year. In pre-goat-stand-days I have wrestled him to the ground and positioned my leg over his neck to trim his fleece with scissors. Now, I have sheep shears that I brought from Florida this year and I'm hoping the job will go faster than the hour and a half per goat. Hey, I'm learning! It does help to have the right equipment, and any poor soul willing to help.
Peanut is happier now that I put him and Popeye in with the girl goats. Planned pregnancies. I aim to be more prepared next year when the kids start popping.
Sadie and Sarah
Pepper and Patty
Little Patty was totally independent when it came to my attention. She wanted none of it. Born without my help she figured she was good to go. And that she did. I sold her in September when she was six months old to a woman from around the Cadillac, Michigan area. It wasn't so bad for me, but I think Pepper missed her for a few days.
hand while milking with the other. I think we were both glad when milking wasn't required any longer.
Rooster, the Ladies and Herbie
Now as for the fourteenth chick, that is a whole 'nother story. The hen that was setting on it before it hatched started out with seven eggs. But with other hens wanting to lay eggs in the same nest box as she was setting resulted in six of the eggs getting broken, ending with only one egg in the nest. It came down to the last day for hatching. I go out in the morning to find the one egg warm in the nest and no hen. Well, I figured she was getting food, water, a little fresh air. I go back out in the afternoon to gather eggs. And I find the one egg now cold in the nest. No hen. How much fresh air does she thinks she needs anyway?! Great! Twenty-one days wasted and no chicks. "This egg will get tossed".
If there is one thing that still works good for me is my hearing. My eyesight is less than desired, but I can hear a pin drop a mile away as long as my ears aren't ringing too loudly. On this particular day (9/24/13) after I gathered all the eggs I kept hearing a tiny peep. Didn't know where it was coming from until I realized it was coming from the twenty-one-day-old cold egg I was holding in my hand. In my mind I'm picturing the doctor who put Frankenstein together exclaiming, "It's alive!".
As I'm quickly walking to the house with this cold egg I'm talking to it like it needs my encouragement to stay alive long enough to hatch. (At times it really is a good thing I live by myself, and no guests). In the house I turn on the oven light, grab a large pan, add a towel, the egg and thermometer and place it all in the oven, all the while making a mental note that the use of the oven is off-limits for a couple of days. Again, in my mind I'm picturing a new dish titled "Baked Egg Surprise". Not a good thought.
Before I go to bed that night I talk to the egg in the oven. Now, by this time I have named what is inside the egg "Herbie". I'm actually hoping for a male chick that would grow to someday replace Rooster when he is no longer around. In the course of my conversation with the peeping egg I explain there is nothing I can do on my end except keep it warm. I want so badly to open a hole in the shell to help him along, but that can end badly.
So, Herbie spent the first week of his life in a tote in the kitchen with a light. But, with the onset of cold weather Herbie will have to stay in the basement (no electricity in the outbuildings), and he won't go out with the other chickens until spring. But that's not the kicker. Herbie is a pullet.
Moose is a cute, stocky dude with white and black fur. The fibers gleaned when I brush Moose can be spun and plied to make a soft yarn.
|Herbie and Moose facing off|
Gizmo and Fuzz
Fuzz is adorable, and tiny compared to some of the rabbits I've had. I haven't investigated whether Fuzz is male or female. It doesn't matter at this point because I don't intend to use Fuzz for breeding.
Ducky and Dizzy
|Ducky as a duckling|
|Dizzy and Ducky|
Back in August of this year I had gone to Canada for a week with John fishing for Walleye and Pike. When I returned one of the things I found new with the animals is that there was a pile of wood shavings in the inside corner of the duck house. In the top of this pile were duck eggs. At that time I hadn't known if the ducks were male and female. But now I knew one of them was a female, but didn't know which one since I couldn't catch one or the other on the nest. After researching on the internet, I realized Dizzy was a male Indian Runner. That left Ducky as the one laying the eggs.
|Barred Rock hen and peachick|
|Peacock, peahens and peachick|
Pond FishLast year I began catching the bright-colored or uniquely marked ornamental fish from my small pond. I put them in a large 81 gallon fish tank and it sits right inside the side door entrance of the house. I figured it would be a good spot that could hold 850 pounds of tank, water, gravel and fish. Under the wood flooring is cement.
There are two doors from the house going into this room where the aquarium sits, and last winter most of the time the inside doors were closed and I kept blankets over the tank to help keep it warm (the fish do not need to be fed once the water temp goes below about 54 degrees). Well, I learned that this year at least one door must remain open to allow heat into the room.
One evening last winter as I was checking doors I stopped in my tracks by the fish tank. For some reason I wasn't hearing the gentle sound of the filter or water. I gently lifted the corner of the blanket and to my horror the top half of the water had turned to ice. I immediately set up the heater in the room, and after about three days the ice was gone. The fish was fine, much to my relief. But the result of that ice, I'm assuming, did not show itself until months later in July.
By August 13 I had repaired the aquarium by removing the old sealant, adding new and letting it cure, filling the tank, adding gravel, set up the filter and add the fish a few days later. So far, so good.
I still have fish in the bath tub because I caught the rest of the fish from the pond, and I will need to move them to the basement for the winter. I'm in the process of getting the pond ready for a liner, and then it will need to be filled and allowed to condition itself for a few months. By spring I figured I can put the fish from the basement back out in the pond.
I look forward to marking one more thing off my list as done...